Photo: Niklas Halle’n Agence France-Presse
The artist Christo has just completed The London Mastaba”, the form of which recalls that of the tombs of traditional egyptians called mastabas.
Six hundred tons, 7506 cans stacked in the shape of a trapezoid : the artist Christo has unveiled Monday, his most recent work, a mastaba floating on the lake Serpentine in Hyde Park, monumental installation, confusing, intended as much to stimulate debate as to ” stimulate the senses “.
Seeing this assembly of containers of metal, very strongly think of the oil barrels in the heart of one of the green lungs of London, some will think a message against pollution. Others will see in this installation surprising, visible from several hundred meters to the round, a kind of prism, a pixel giant, or a simple geometric shape.
The work wants to be by nature open to all interpretations and is not intended to convey any kind of statement, ” says the artist.
“Walk around, look at it, I can’t say anything else” asked Christo, featured world of contemporary art known for the spectacular “packaging” of the Reichstag in Berlin (1995) and the Pont-Neuf in Paris (1985), during a press conference held on the banks of the Serpentine, an artificial lake popular with tourists, swans and other ducks.
“There is no message, then said the artist, aged 83 years, American of Bulgarian origin, to the AFP. Whether it is critical or positive, any interpretation is legitimate. “
Only concession of the creator : the work of 20 meters high is likely to be a kind of ” stairway to heaven “.
First installation of a large-scale open-pit Christo in the United Kingdom, the mastaba (tomb ancient found in Egypt and Mesopotamia) is made up of 7506 cans of metal of 200 litres based on a floating platform anchored securely to the ground.
Red and white on one side, blue, purple and red on the other, the keystone offers a striking contrast with the calm waters and lined with large trees in the lake Serpentine.
The bogus as art material
Christo left with the “bogus” material of which it appreciates the low-cost and aesthetic potential. The artist had started to become interested in cylindrical shapes by performing at the end of the 1950’s small sculptures with cans, painted or wrapped.
In 1962, the artist, who had fled to Bulgaria communist, had shut down a street in Paris with a wall of bottles, her response to the Berlin Wall.
More recently, Christo, winner with his wife, Jeanne-Claude, now deceased, of the Praemium Imperiale, considered the Nobel of the arts, had created a wall of 13,000 cans in Oberhausen, in western Germany.
The ” London Mastaba “, whose construction, financed by the artist, had begun on 3 April, will be visible throughout the summer and until the 23rd of September, before being recycled.
Just installed, the work was not without sparking reactions, surprised, and shared among the visitors of Hyde Park.
“They look like balloons for children,” said, a bit bewildered, a tourist is 46 years old, Yasmin Koc Ozcengel, a native of Istanbul.
“It is very modern, while the place is both natural and historic,” she pointed out, believing that this mastaba would have been greeted by a more appropriate site.
Christo wanted to provoke thought ?” He got there, because I’m here thinking of what it may well be, ” said his side Sheila Steffenson, an American 58-year-old London-based.
“Maybe is it a message about the pollution ? a-t-she added. Who knows ? “