There’s A Huge New Artwork Floating On The Serpentine

Alex Landon Alex Landon - Editor

London Mastaba

It’s called The London Mastaba – but what the hell is it?

Hyde Park has gone full art attack in the past week. First the new Serpentine Gallery was unveiled, and now The London Mastaba has turned up. It’s kind of unmissable – in that it’s so big that you literally can’t fail to spot it…

London Mastaba
Photo: @100sculptors

The London Mastaba is so big, it may as well have its own orbit. Just look it, rising up behind these unsuspecting pedalo pals like a multicoloured tidal wave. They didn’t stand a chance…

Photo: @jasonsayer

It’s a striking new addition to Hyde Park, that’s for sure. The London Mastaba is the creation of Bulgarian artist Christo, who funded the project himself. The behemoth is composed of 7506 barrels, weighs 650 tons, and stands proud at 66 feet tall. That makes it roughly the same height as the Great Sphinx of Egypt, for those keeping score. Oh, and a mastaba is a kind of ancient Arabic bench, in case you were wondering.

London Mastaba
Photo: @worsfoldphotos

Impressive as The London Mastaba is, it’s just a trial run for Christo’s next project. He’s hoping to install a similar mastaba in the desert of Abu Dhabi – the only difference being that the Abu Dhabi one will be eight times bigger…

London Mastaba
Photo: @nleworks

Christo and his late wife Jeanne-Claude are renowned for large-scale environment art projects, but this is the first time London has been their playground. Previous efforts include wrapping Berlin’s Reichstag in fabric, building a 25-mile fence across Northern California, and draping New York’s Central Park in orange fabric. As one does.

London Mastaba
Photo: @joco500

You can see The London Mastaba bobbing gently on the waters of the Serpentine until September 23rd. It’s free to visit, and rest assured it won’t impact the local wildlife. As you can see, the swans don’t appear to be particularly bothered…

London Mastaba
Photo: @ashieshshah

Anxious for more art? Check out our guide to London’s best art exhibitions!

Featured image: @ashieshshah