photo from the Website (www.thefloatingpiers.com)
The Bulgarian land artist Christo has made an extraordinary construction with his late wife Jeanne Claude. Entitled The Floating Piers, it is an installation on Lake Iseo made of floating docks that connect and reinterpret the landscape. It opened June 18 and will continue until July 3, visitors can not only see it but also use it. Christo writes on his website:
Visitors will experience this work of art by walking on it from Sulzano to Monte Isola and to the island of San Paolo, which it encircles. The mountains surrounding the lake will offer a bird’s-eye view of The Floating Piers, exposing unnoticed angles and altering perspectives.
What Christo terms as “sexy” is the key to his work, his essential guide. In this case it’s the act of walking, walking on water in effect. The artist also wants this particular installation to be something that will soon be destroyed, like a dream; he wants it to live and then to vanish, leaving only a potent memory.
And indeed the experience of walking on Christo’s “Floating Piers” is profound; it’s a wonderfully liberating experience that frees the imagination. Your feelings are intimately perceived through the direct involvement of your own body in a totally absorbing way. Christo allows anyone the chance to visit his work of art, to become an integral part of it, and feel totally free and deeply emotionally involved with a series of sensations of infinite shades. His art gallery is nature itself.
As well as your becoming like Jesus Christ and walking on water, you become a flying bird that sees the lake from a normally unattainable point of view. You become the wind and the waves of the lake itself in a dreamlike and unforgettable paradisiac experience.
What exactly is the work and where is it?
It is an installation that stretches across the surface of the water for a distance of three kilometres. Christo’s system of pontoons is made from polyethylene cubes (200 thousand in all) – each one covered with a colored fabric. Immediately after 3 July the whole installation will be destroyed and recycled.
Lake Iseo is where which the work as a whole takes place. As you walk its length, you encounter Sulzano Monte Isola, with its 12 historic sites and you end up on the island of St. Paul, south of Monte Isola. You are seeing and feeling Christo’s work in public, witnessed by everyone else around you, and yet you are able to enjoy an intensely private sensation. You are truly transported.
IT’s Elena Caldera tests out the Floating Piers
Text and photographs: Elena Caldera
English translation : Heathcote Williams