London Mastaba

Aug 17, 2018

Ok. So the “Mastaba” is colourful. It is completely out of place, very much “look at me mummy, look, look” art. The shape, the colours, the materials. What on earth have they to do with the location? The Guardian calls it “a floating bath toy”

Guardian review

Now. The accompanying explanatory exhibition is quite interesting. It was policed by a small army of attractive young people. The materials used in the explanatory exhibition were wall posters and old oil drums, so I don’t know how much visible damage a crazed art critic could do if they went at it with a sledge hammer. A mastaba is either an Egyptian bench or burial tomb (think flat topped pyramid). In the exhibition the artist, Christo, had quite a thing about oil barrels. Oil barrels piled on top of each other. Oil barrels blocking streets. Oil barrels wrapped in distressed cloths. Beautiful models and pictures of oil barrels in different locations and configurations. I paid attention. I learned/saw that oil barrels from different companies are variously brightly-coloured, a bit like horse racing jockeys’ silks to distinguish them in a race.

There is a plan to build a four time (?) sized mastaba in the desert of Abu Dhabi. That makes sense. Oil drums, oil state. North African / Egyptian / Middle East location. I see some connections. But. What do brightly-coloured drums in the shape of an Egyptian burial mound have to do with a lake in Hyde Park, London? Oh. It’s to provoke. But of course. Well, I am provoked.

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