Friday, July 1, 2016

Walking on water Christo style

My colleague Matteo Volonté was on a quick visit to his native Lombardy earlier this month and managed to catch the extraordinary art event of the Christo installation on Lago d’Iseo. We had a chat this week when he got back. 

Julian Bickersteth: How did people get there, given the crowds? 

Matteo Volonté: You could get there by many modes of transport. You could go by train, car, bike and boat. The access to the piers is in Sulzano near Iseo. The village of Sulzano is very small and could not accommodate many vehicles, so designated car parks scattered on the outskirts of the lake were used and shuttle buses collected visitors to take them to the piers. People also walked from nearby villages.

JB: How is it constructed? 

MV: The piers were made of cubic barrels made of polyethylene and joined together like a puzzle and connected with large polyethylene screws. It was covered with approximately 100,000 square meters of synthetic fabric and anchored to the bottom of the lake with ropes and concrete blocks.

JB: What did it feel like walking on? 

MV: I believe Christo said it felt like walking on the back of a whale. The movement of the lake gives definitely life to the piers. Someone else said it is like walking on the water. Certainly being so close to the water gives a wonderful effect.

JB: Was it deteriorating? 

MV: When I went to visit the Christo installation, it was just a few days after the opening. The apparent condition of the fabric was fine. In areas, staining began to appear particularly at the entrance of the piers and where the fabric was covering the roads of the villages. Leaf litter and floating tree branches were depositing along the edges of the piers, but it’s something that should be expected. I did notice at the end of the day, towards the exit, in some of the steep alleyways of Sulzano village, that the fabric began to tear, particularly along the seams. That was because of the friction of the visitors attempting to climb up the hill.

Enjoy Matteo’s beautiful pictures.

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