Mastaba is the project for a huge work of art: in terms of volume, it is the largest ever made in modern times, with 410,000 empty steel oil barrels juxtaposed horizontally to outline the shape of the archaic Egyptian pyramid.

At Christo’s own behest, Mastaba will be the last project to be made after the artist’s death. Conceived in 1977, it will be 300 metres wide, 225 metres long and 150 metres high; it will be located about 100 kilometres south of Abu Dhabi, in the Liwa desert.

Many bright colours, as fascinating as the ancient Islamic mosaics, will offer a continuously changing visual experience in relation to the different hours of the day and the multiple qualities of the space, where the immense and solid shape of the archaic pyramid Mastaba will marry the elegant and airy metamorphoses of light.

A variation of this subject was made in Hyde Park in London above Serpentine Lake, from 18 June to 9 September 2018. Made by stacking 7,506 barrels in bright colours (red/orange, pink, light indigo and white stripes on the sides), it was rested on a metal grid in turn fixed to a floating platform in polyurethane. 20 metres high and 40 wide, the work also seemed to be a tribute to Turner and the great French impressionists since, as Christo himself declared, “its colours will transform with the changing light and its reflection on Serpentine Lake will be like an abstract painting”.

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