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The Mastaba : Some photographic jottings

The Mastaba : Some photographic jottings

Mastaba, Serpentine

By the end of August 2018 many of you will now be familiar with the installation by Christo and Jean-Claude known as the Mastaba. Installed in the Serpentine, Hyde Park, a couple of months ago, it has proved controversial. Will it contribute to the ambiance and character of the Royal Park; will it generate crowds which can’t be managed; will it upset the ecosystem of the lake?

All these questions and more have been posed during the period that it is in place. I decided to go for a look myself one sunny evening in the dog days of the summer. I always love an explore in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens and this gave me a purpose for another visit.

It was back in the winter that the Friends’ trustees met the great man himself to see what the project was all about. We recall his other installations that, with his late wife, he deployed by wrapping the Reichstag in Berlin and the Pont-Neuf in Paris. Personally I struggle to get excited about the artistic attributes of the work. But what do I know?

Christo was charming and open in answering our many questions about the potential impact of the massive cropped pyramid of oil barrels that was about to be launched into one of the greatest city water spaces in the world.

A few of my pictures can be seen in the Gallery section, Click Here They serve to give you an idea of how it has turned out. I can’t say that I will mourn its departure when it is dismantled in the autumn. It seems to detract from the sylvan character of the semi wooded spaces serving as a backdrop to the Serpentine. For me the character of a park should be formed by its openness and planting. Perhaps with some small scale feature buildings scattered around.

But it is a short term novelty and one that provides a fun chance to take some shots which one wouldn’t otherwise find in the city. I hope you like these pictures. There is still time to go and see for yourself. Don’t forget your camera!

Paul Shelley,
Accredited Photographer,
Friends of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.

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