art / Christo / Italy / Public Art

Walking on Water: Christo’s Next Installation

It’s hard to believe that ten years have passed since Christo’s installation “The Gates” in Central Park. Many visitors reported remarkable sensations, conversations and emotions while walking through the gate constructs, with their saffron-colored fabric fluttering in the winter breezes. Next year, Christo will offer another sensational installation experience called walking on wate25CHRISTOJP2-articleLarger in Italy.  An article in today’s NYT describes it: For 16 days starting June 18, on Italy’s tiny Lake Iseo, the public will be able to walk for nearly two miles on water, atop 200,000 floatable cubes covered in glittering, dahlia-yellow fabric fashioned from tightly woven nylon. “They will feel the movement of the water under foot,” Christo said. “It will be very sexy, a bit like walking on a water bed.”22artsbeat-christo1-tmagArticle

In an article back in May, The Economist described the project:

“The Floating Piers” will be a series of golden walkways connecting Sulzano on the mainland to the islands of Monte Isola and San Paolo. Christo says his intention is to create a beautiful, temporary work of art. Temporariness is important to him, he says, for containing an aesthetic quality he calls the “presence of the missing”. it will be Christo’s first big work for ten years, and the first since the death of his wife and collaborator, Jeanne-Claude in 2009. Built of 200,000 specially designed polyethylene cubes normally used in the yachting industry for pontoons, the 16 metre-wide piers will float on the lake. Fastened to the lake floor every 50m, with anchors up to 90m deep and some weighing 7 tons, it is an ambitious vision. Sloping, unfenced sides will allow boats to ride up onto the piers so promenaders can alight. The cubes will be covered with 70,000 square metres of fabric: three kilometres of yellow road will move on the water; another 1.5km will flow through the tight pedestrian streets in Sulzano and Peschiera Maraglio. The contrast of the gentle fluidity on the water and the sturdy presence of the land will be sexy, says the artist.

The project is expected to cost $10m, which Christo will fund through the sales of sketches of the plans, scale models and past works. He does not balk at the cost. “These projects are our children,” he says. “Do you have a budget for your children?” He refuses commissions and sponsorship so as to remain in control.

Photos courtesy: artnet.com

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