Christo und Jeanne-Claude:
Illustrated Book "Barrels and the Mastaba" (1958-2018)

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Christo und Jeanne-Claude:
Illustrated Book "Barrels and the Mastaba" (1958-2018)

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Hardcover | Format 29 x 27 cm | 208 pages | Edition: English

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Christo und Jeanne-Claude: Illustrated Book "Barrels and the Mastaba" (1958-2018)

From June 18th to September 23rd, 2018, the London Hyde Park became the scene for the new installation of Christo and Jeanne-Claudes: The Mastaba (Project for London, Hyde Park, Serpentine Lake). The temporary sculpture shows the Mastaba shape, used from the beginning of civilization. In Mesopotamia, the word indicated the brick benches, with two vertical and two sloped sides. The 20-meters high and 600-tons heavy swimming sculpture was anchored on the Serpentine Lake and consisted from 7506 varnished barrels, united in the colorful mosaic of red, white, blue and purple tones.

The London Mastaba is a forerunner of the thing, that has to become the biggest and the longest lasting enterprise by Christo and Jeanne Clause: The Mastaba (Project for Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates), a sculpture from 410,000 colorful barrels, planned since 1977, 150 meters high and thus larger than the Pyramid of Cheops in Giza. Built of bright colors in the middle of the desert, it would not only be the largest sculpture ever created, but it would also be one of the most breathtaking constructions ever created by human hands.

The Mastaba in London's Hyde Park not only refers to Christo and Jeanne-Claude's numerous projects on water but also to their long tradition of creating works of art from barrels. An exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Melissa Blanchflower, and Josy Kraft, presents thematically related sculptures, drawings, and photographs from the last 60 years, at the same time as the installation in Hyde Park.

The book, designed by Lorenza Giovanelli and Christo himself, gives a comprehensive overview of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's work with barrels from the beginning of 1958 to the present day. It displays the genesis and development of the London Mastaba, starting with the earliest sketches to the latest drawings and collages, which were created shortly before the realization. Together with maps, technical information, engineering drawings and the photographs of Wolfgang Volz, many of the pictures and documents are published here for the first time ever.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Wolfgang Volz, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Paul Goldberger, Adam Blackburn, Lorenza Giovanelli, Erin Bazos. Hardcover. Format 29 x 27 cm. 208 pages. Edition: Englisch.

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Nothing’s impossible.

40-year-long craze for the huge and spectacular in service of the art: “The Running Fence”, “The Gates” or the “Wrapped Reichstag” - Christo & Jeanne-Claude continue to present projects in an unimaginable magnitude and manage to attract millions of viewers.

Each of their installations and a actions of disguise require expenditures, which are usually used only for city projects. With persistence, bordering with obsession, organized, like a middle-sized enterprise, they negotiated with authorities, enterprises, engineers and technicians. Time? Space? Patience? Money? Everything is relative: „The Gates“ in the Central Park stretched over 37 kilometers, cost 21 million dollars and needed 26 years. It continued for 24 years at the Reichstag and the 40 km “Running Fence” cost over 3 million dollars – everything was paid off from the profit of selling drawings, models and photos.

Christo emphasizes: “Many people think we are sculptors or painters. But our work is connected to architecture, city planning and logistics much more”. He cannot imagine himself working in a studio: „The most important thing is visual perception, a celebration of space and a man in the space. All my works are about feeling the space. That is why we brought our art from the studio. We hire the open space and give it to the art.“

Christo Vladimirov Javacheff and Jeanne-Claude Marie Denat were both born on June 13, 1935. He was born in Gabrovo/ Bulgari, and she was born in Casablanca. Jeanne-Claude studied Latin and philosophy at the University of Tunis, Christo studied at the Academy of Arts in Sofia. In 1958 they met each other in Paris and married in 1962. In 2009 Jeanne-Claude died of a brain hemorrhage. Christo lives and works in New York.

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