CHRISTO AND JEANNE-CLAUDE’S WATER WALK
By Dairia Kymber
Here’s your chance to walk on water. Christo and Jeanne-Claude present The Floating Piers, an installation on Italy’s Lake Iseo allowing visitors to walk from Sulzano to Monte Isola, and to the island of San Paolo.
Consisting of 100,000 square meters of shimmering yellow fabric, The Floating Piers is carried by a modular dock system of 220,000 high-density polyethylene cubes floating on the surface of the water. “Those who experience The Floating Piers will feel like they are walking on water – or perhaps the back of a whale,” said Christo. “The light and water will transform the bright yellow fabric to shades of red and gold throughout the sixteen days.”
The fabric used went through a 2-year production timeline in Greven, Germany. To discover its flaws, the fabric was backlit and checked continuously. In February 2016, the yellow fabric was sewn into panels at Geo – Die Luftwerker in Lübeck, Germany. Over a course of 8 months, a factory in Fondotoce at Lago Magiore manufactured the high-density polyethylene cubes. The installation was tested by many individuals, including Christo, for one year on several locations such as Germany and Bulgaria.
This installation is Christo’s first large-scale project since his wife and art partner Jeanne-Claude passed away in 2009. Together, the artists have created some of the most visually breathtaking works of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. They conceived the concept for The Floating Piers in 1970. In 2014, Christo found Lake Iseo to be the most inspiring location for the project. The artists’ goal has always been to create works of art of joy and beauty, without charging any viewing fees. “There are no tickets, no openings, no reservations and no owners. The Floating Piers are an extension of the street and belong to everyone,” said Christo. Christo, Bulgarian-born, has lectured worldwide about his environmental work. He does not operate as a conceptual artist, rather he believes that the only way to see it is to build it.
The Floating Piers is open until July 13, 2016 and it’s accessibility is based on weather and other factors. It is encouraged that visitors check the forecast, as rain and strong winds can limit access to the project.