Lot 42
  • 42


25,000 - 35,000 GBP
50,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Christo
  • The Mastaba of Abu Dhabi (Project for United Arab Emirates)
  • signed, titled and dated 1982
  • pencil, pastel, charcoal, wax crayon and printed map on paper


Corporate Collection, United Kingdom

Catalogue Note

The idea for The Mastaba was first conceived by Christo and Jeanne-Claude in 1977 and is still under realisation. It will be the artist’s duo only permanent large-scale work. Reflecting on the project, the artists wrote:

“The Mastaba of Abu Dhabi will represent:

The symbol of the Emirate and the greatness of Sheikh Zayed, the Mastaba will be taller and more massive than the Cheops Pyramid near Cairo. The symbol of civilization of oil throughout the world. The Mastaba will be made of 390,500 oil barrels. The project has the most unique character. Nothing comparable has ever existed in any other country. Hundreds of bright colors, as enchanting as the Islamic mosaics, will give a constantly changing visual experience according to the time of the day and the quality of light. The grandeur and vastness of the land will be reflected in the grandeur and majesty of the Mastaba which is to be 300 meters (984 feet) wide, 225 meters (738 feet) deep and 150 meter (492 feet) high. The only purpose of this monument is to be itself. The Mastaba of Abu Dhabi can become the symbol of the Emirate and of the 20th Century oil civilization.

The Mastaba will be constructed of materials relative to the area: inside, natural aggregates and cement to form a concrete structure with a sand core; and outside, an overall surfacing of 55-gallon stainless steel oil barrels of various bright colors:

All Barrels, on the 4 sides and on the top, will be installed so that they are lying horizontally on their sides. The two 300 meter (984 feet) wide sides will be vertical showing the circular heads of the colored barrels. The two 225 (738 feet) ends will be sloping at the 60 degree natural angle of stacked barrels showing the curved side of the barrels. The top of the Mastaba will be a horizontal surface 126.8 meters (416 feet) wide and 225 meter (738 feet) deep showing the rounded length of the barrels. The volume of the Mastaba will be such that many 48 story skyscrapers could easily fit into its massiveness. It is suggested that the Mastaba be situated on a slightly rising plain to allow viewers the full impact of the grandeur of the Mastaba as they approach by foot, by automobile, or by airplane. There will be no ingress except for a passageway to the elevators to take visitors to the top 150 meters (492 feet) above the ground. From there they will enjoy superb views, being able to see approximately 50 kilometers across the countryside.
The area adjacent to the walkways approaching the Mastaba will be like an oasis to the visitor with flowers and grass. There will also be planting of palm trees, eucalyptus trees, thorns trees and other shrubbery surrounding the Mastaba at a distance to serve as a windbreak minimizing the force of the sand and windstorms.
Within this distant area there could be complex with a worship room, parking and facilities for the visitors and lodging for the curator and guardians.”