He has wrapped the Reichstag – now the artist Christo is heading to the UK with 7,506 oil barrels

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, his late wife, became famous for their extraordinary sculptures, including one that made Italians feel they were walking on water. Now he’s coming to Britain, what surprises can we expect?

Christo is standing in the driving rain patiently surveying the site for his latest artwork, which will rise a whopping 20 metres from the currently choppy waters of the Serpentine lake. His white locks and quilted Issey Miyake coat are flapping about madly as the downpour sweeps through Hyde Park, but the 82-year-old artist looks happy enough.

From our vantage point on the bridge over the lake, we can just about make out dogs romping round the Princess Diana memorial fountain. From June, I learn, this popular landmark will be overshadowed by Christo’s first large British artwork: a giant stack of 55-gallon oil barrels, numbering 7,506 in all, floating on the lake.

Artists - above all architects - seek permanence. I don't. I like leaving nothing. That takes courage

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