Christo's latest project: an oil barrel pyramid

23rd July 2007, Comments 0 comments

SAINT-PAUL, France, July 23, 2007 (AFP) - In a break with their usual temporary installations, the artist Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude on Saturday unveiled a plan to build a giant pyramid of oil barrels in the desert of the United Arab Emirates.

SAINT-PAUL, France, July 23, 2007 (AFP) - In a break with their usual temporary installations, the artist Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude on Saturday unveiled a plan to build a giant pyramid of oil barrels in the desert of the United Arab Emirates.

"The Emirates is very keen to see this project realized," Christo said at a presentation of models and drawings for the 150-metre (500-foot) monument, roughly two thirds of the height of the Eiffel Tower.

The idea for the pyramid, with a flat summit, made up of 390,500 oil barrels piled up horizontally, dates back to the 1960s, the artists said. Two earlier attempts to erect it in Texas and the Netherlands came to nothing before the couple decided to turn to the UAE.

But then the Iran-Iraq war put the project on hold. It was only revived two and a half years ago.

The so-called Mastaba project takes its name and shape from the rectangular funerary constructions of Ancient Egypt. The exact location for the pyramid, which will be entirely in yellow-orange shades, has yet to be finalised but it will definitely be somewhere in the desert in the UAE, they said.

The project is a far cry from the ephemeral artworks for which the couple are best known, like wrapping the Berlin Reichstag and the Pont-Neuf in Paris: "According to engineers, the Mastaba could last for 5,000 years."

A change of philosophy? Christo's more pragmatic response is that "Arab states are less susceptible to provisional works and change."

If the project goes ahead, Abu Dhabi will pick up the bill: until now Christo and Jeanne-Claude have always financed their installations by selling scale models and drawings.

This is still the case for their current project to swathe a 10.7 kilometres (6.7 mile) stretch of the Arkansas river in the western state of Colorado with clear fabric.

The couple has been planning that installation, entitled "Over the River", for nine years and intend it to stand for two weeks in July and August in 2011.

Models for the Mastaba project can be seen at the Galerie Guy Pieters in this southern French town until September 9.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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