Christo to Build World’s Biggest Art Piece… Out of Oil Barrels in Abu Dhabi, Naturally

11.26.12 Irina Dvalidze

Christo is not known for doing things on a small scale and now he is undertaking a project 30 years in the making. The artist best known for wrapping the Reichstag in fabric, running 40 kilometers of nylon along the California coast and covering up Pont-Neuf Bridge in Paris, will create the worlds largest permanent sculpture in Abu Dhabi.

Wait for it… wait for it…

The 492ft high Mastaba will consists of 400,000 multi-coloured oil barrels and will cost £212m ($340m). It is set to be just a bit taller than the pyramids in Giza and 3 times the height of Nelson’s column in Trafalgar Square. The Mastaba is one of two projects Christo has been continuing to work on since the passing of his wife and lifelong collaborator Jeanne-Claude in 2009. The pair appropriately drew inspiration from the sand textures in the Abu Dhabi dessert which will house the piece, 100 miles outside of city near Liwa oasis, in the south-east of the United Arab Emirates on the border with Oman.

The location is more than fitting, considering the ambitious projects taken on by the local government in an effort for Abu Dhabi to become an international cultural hotspot. The medium however is somewhat more controversial, considering that oil is the area’s primary resource. The 74 year-old artist has enlisted wealthy supporters like Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed al-Nayhan, the crown prince’s elder brother, but has not acknowledged whether the royal family has contributed to the project financially, citing sale of personal work as the source for funding. The construction process is scheduled to take 30 months and with any luck Christo won’t have to spend extra months convincing 59 local families to allow the creation of the project. If that’s the case, having friends like the Sheikh might not be a bad plan after all…

Especially if you’re going to build world’s biggest art piece ever, out of oil barrels, in Abu Dhabi.