Images by Wolfgang Volz
Usually controversial and certainly impossible to ignore, Christo and Jeanne-Claude had persistently contended that their spectacular works of environmental appropriation had no meaning beyond adding moments of aesthetic joy and surprise the workaday existence of humanity. These included wrapping Berlin’s Reichstag and Paris’ Pont Neuf, as well as installing a dazzlingly incongruous and unexpected set of “Gates” in New York’s Central Park in 2005.
Jeanne-Claude passed away in 2009. But an idea the husband and wife artist pair had conceived decades ago has at last been made reality, and still bears both their names. Indeed, a 3-km long walkway entitled Floating Piers opens today on Lake Iseo, an ethereal little resort town in Northern Italy.
“The Floating Piers are an extension of the street and belong to everyone,” says Christo, in familiar egalitarian speak. “Like all of our projects [it is] absolutely free and accessible 24 hours a day, weather permitting, There are no tickets, no openings, no reservations and no owners.”
Indeed, it is arguably a masterstroke of artistic democratization in a region overwhelmed with money, celebrity and glamour, best exemplified by the prodigious star power of nearby Lake Como, home to the likes of George and Amal Clooney and Richard Branson.
The Floating Piers will be up until July 3.