Art & sculpture in the landscape
Christo’s, ‘The London Mastaba’, Serpentine Lake
There is something about art in the landscape that I love. Something that stops you, makes you take time out, look, consider and pause. Anything that can jarr you out of yourself and take you to another thought process, away from what is going on in your head, your world, just has to be a good thing!
Art and sculpture has the power to engage your senses and make you smile. Visually appealing in genre, finish, humour, works and installations make you question why you like them and how they move you. Also there dynamic within the landscape and impact on the neighbours!
In the summer I was lucky enough to treat myself, mind, body and soul! (as it was a bliming long walk that day)! to a creative day wander and view both the floating installation on the Serpentine and the huge variety of sculptures on the grass at Regents Park Summer Frieze exhibition. (More of Frieze in another blog).
Let’s start with the lake!
If I’m honest with you I really did not think I would like the floating triangular tolberone’esque! cube on the Serpentine. But I loved it!! It made me smile. It literally brightened up my day. Why did I like it!
I loved how the bright form revealed its self to me, as I walked up from different parts of the park and around the lake. I loved, looking back when I departed, how through a gap in the trees and green leaves bouncing slightly in the breeze, that I could spy something that looked pink, purple, red.. what was it?
I too loved the juxtaposition and angles that opened up against other buildings, (in the eyeline of your view, forever changing as you walked), the outlined shapes. Viewed against todays traditional coloured brick and mortar boat house structure on the edge of the lake, the modern take on the
Mastaba – blocks of mosaic colour, with the solid form contrasted with the ever changing reflections over the course of time, dappled on the waters surface.
The artist Christo completed ‘The London Mastaba’, 20 metres high, this summer. With the unveiling in Hyde Park on the 18th June 2018. It represents his resolution, along with his late wife Jeanne-Claude, to follow their mutual passion for the structure and to make art free.
A mastabas is a type of Egyptian tomb, taking the form of a shape with a flat top/roof and sloping sides. With the original construction being mud bricks, from the Nile. The meaning translates to ‘eternal house’ or ‘house for eternity’. Mastaba is from the Arabic word meaning ‘stone bench’. Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s passion for this shape, translated into the creation of the floating form, we see today. Made up of 7,506 painted barrels, the tops are a vivid purply pink, red and blue. So one side, is a candy mosaic of coloured round drum tops. With the wider sloping sides the vertical sides of the drums, in a much deeper, darker, red; punctuated with white rings. The deeper red suggests the colour of conventional roof tiles, en masse and part of me wonders how jolly it would be for the artist to work on a building project with a developer today.
The colours chosen vibrate, contrast and reflect in the ever changing light and stand out amongst the park colours, that we all recognise. Shadows of the Mastaba float on murky dark Serpentine water, where wild water swimmers can barely see an arm stroke in front, as it hits the opaque surface. The structure is such an anomaly, on the waters surface, but it just works! You would think, as if by magic, that it floats – but scaffold and anchoring secure the structure in the lake.
An amazing project that was self funded, with funds from the sale of their original art.
Christo quotes ‘I won’t give a millimetre of my freedom (away) and damage my art,’ in relation to his freedom and independence from galleries and patronage.
He is indeed a free artist who is not confined by commissions. In todays art world it is a pleasure to hear an artist who lives by his own rules.
I hope you got to see The London Mastaba, one fine day this summer.