Conceived in 1977, and currently, in progress, The Mastaba, Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s largest permanent artwork in the world, is designed for Abu Dhabi, to be built in a proposed location approximately 160 kilometers south of the city in the desert of Liwa, in the United Arab Emirates. Made from 410,000 multi-colored barrels, the installation will create “a colorful mosaic, echoing Islamic architecture”. 150 meters high, 300 meters long at the vertical walls and 225 meters wide at the 60 degrees slanted walls, the duo’s final project will take at least three years to be built, once it receives governmental approval.
A selection of photographs and original works of The Mastaba project is currently on view in an exhibition organized by the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF) on the occasion of the Abu Dhabi Festival, entitled "Portrait of a Nation II." Carried out by Christo’s nephew Vladimir Yavachev, as per the artist’s wishes, who recently directed L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, The Mastaba, once built, will become the largest contemporary sculpture (in volume) in the world. In fact, the public artwork will be bigger than the Great Pyramid of Giza.
While Christo and Jeanne-Claude first imagined the large-scale public artwork in 1977, they selected the colors and the positioning of the steel barrels in 1979, when they visited the United Arab Emirates for the first time. Self-financed, like all of the artists’ projects, The Mastaba’s structural feasibility studies were carried out by the Hosei University in Tokyo, Japan, who presented between 2007 and 2008, the most technically sound and innovative concept. In terms of construction, “the entire substructure, as well as the layer of barrels, will be assembled flat on the ground. Ten elevation towers will make it possible to raise the entire structure on rails to its final position in about two weeks”.
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Beauty, science, and art will always triumph. – Christo, 1958.
Other recent works by the artists include, in 2018, The temporary London Mastaba in Hyde Park, featuring 7,506 horizontally-stacked barrels floating on the Serpentine Lake, and in 2021, after Christo’s passing away in 2020, the temporary installation, L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, that opened to the public on September 18th.
News via: Christo and Jeanne-Claude.