Sunday, September 23rd, will be the last day of The London Mastaba, which opened on 18 June 2018 in Hyde Park. The temporary sculpture, floating on Serpentine Lake, coincided with an exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery of Christo and Jeanne–Claude’s artwork spanning more than 60 years. The free exhibition, “Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Barrels and The Mastaba 1958-2018,” which took place 19 June to 9 September 2018, included a collection of sculptures, drawings, collages and photographs.
Swim Serpentine, hosted by London Marathon Events, will take place this Sunday as scheduled in Serpentine Lake. The placement of The London Mastaba was adjusted last week to accommodate the thousands of participating swimmers. Spectators of the swim should make note that optimal viewing will be at the Cockpit area of the park, where there will be a small events village.
Loyd Grossman CBE, Chairman of The Royal Parks charity, said: “I am delighted that Christo’s Mastaba was received so enthusiastically by stakeholders and that Hyde Park was able to host the artist’s first major public outdoor work in this country. It was a wonderful opportunity for park visitors to see an outstanding work of art, for free, within an iconic landscape.”
Yana Peel, CEO and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director, Serpentine Galleries, said:
“Christo’s project was a true highlight of the summer of 2018. Here in London for everyone to encounter and enjoy for free, the project and the exhibition brought the widest audiences to the park, and gave a fascinating insight to the work of these extraordinary artists.”
The de-installation of The London Mastaba will begin on 24 September. While some equipment and materials, such as scaffolding, were rented for the artwork and will be returned, other materials will be removed and industrially recycled in the UK following the project. The recycled materials include the over 7,500 steel barrels, the pontoon cubes, and all metal fixtures and fittings. Hyde Park will be clear of all aspects of the artwork by 10 November 2018.
As with all of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s projects, The London Mastaba was funded entirely through the sale of Christo’s original works of art. Christo does not accept sponsorship and no public money is used for his projects. Christo’s temporary work of art, which floated on Serpentine Lake for just over 3 months, also presented a unique opportunity for The Royal Parks to enhance the conservation area and associated wildlife. In addition to ensuring that the artwork brought no negative environmental impact, a number of substantial investments are being made in the Park as part of an Ecological Enhancement Strategy that was developed with The Royal Parks, in accordance with National and Local planning policy. The enhancement efforts, being funded by Christo, include ecological works on the Serpentine Island, with the creation of new habitats including Terrestrial Invertebrate habitat creation, Waterfowl refuges, Heron baskets, bird boxes and bat boxes. Works are also taking place to improve conditions in the Serpentine, with litter clearance of the lake and the re-treatment of Phoslock on the lakebed, which removes excess phosphate from the water and reduces the growth of harmful algae.
These works will take place between November 2018 and March 2019 to provide maximum benefits to the Park for the busy spring/summer season and to avoid any disturbance to habitats.
The Serpentine Galleries exhibition catalog and merchandise are still available on its website. All proceeds benefit the Serpentine Galleries; the artist does not benefit from the sale of any items. The Serpentine’s free mobile tour, supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, remains available this month at: sgtours.org. The digital tour was designed to offer more information about the artists and exhibition through audio, video and text as well as a map to help guide visitors.
In addition to a team of workers and fabricators, Christo would like to thank the Office of the Mayor, Serpentine Galleries, The Royal Parks, Westminster Council and the many community and park partners that helped to make The London Mastaba a reality this summer.