CHRIS FREMANTLE

What art have I seen? Mastaba by Christo & Jeanne-Claude

Posted in Exhibitions, Sited work by chrisfremantle on July 4, 2018

The Mastaba on the Serpentine, works related to barrels in the Gallery, other works at Stern Pissarro.

Curiously the Mastaba floating on the lake is more like the 2D works in the Gallery than you expect – it has an unreal quality, perhaps because of the formal geometry and the colour too. All the earlier proposals going back to the late 60s are yellow, red and orange, but this is maroon and purple. Maybe more complementary to the greenness of Hyde Park?

There is definitely a Dada streak in this, the absurdity of this large form, just as there is a Dadaism in wrapping things.

Mies van der Rohe said art addresses the conditions of the time – his were industrialisation and mass production. Christo and Jeanne Claude’s work has a curious relation both to industrial and post-industrialisation, but the temporariness – here now, gone in September – reveals more. Temporary abnormality sensitises us to the normal.

Christo clearly denies any political intent but this monumental structure composed of oil barrels is a reminder of our, as Brett Bloom calls it, petro-subjectivity.

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