Tuesday, July 5, 2016

With thanks to artists Christo & Jeanne-Claude, we literally walked on water!!

Exceptional creativity is always such a thrill to experience first hand, and yesterday at Lake Iseo, we literally walked on water for 3 kilometres thanks to the genius of artists Christo & his late wife Jeanne-Claude.

For the past 16days, over 1.2 million people have experienced this temporary 'Floating Piers' art installation on beautiful Lake Iseo in northern Italy. The installation, a vibrant gold fabric covered pier that extended 3 kilometres across the lake and a further 2.5kms of walk paths through the small towns surrounding the lake was as incredible as it sounds. The 200,000 high density polyethylene cubes undulated with the movement of the lake's water beneath as people ran, jumped and played on its surface. Walking on water upended one's perspective and was fabulously exciting!

Such an amazing feat was first conceived in the minds of Christo & Jeanne-Claude in 1970 but it wasn't until 2 years ago, that Christo found his inspired location and this (clever!) Italian community agreed to host the event, that began to take shape. We were fascinated by the logistics that went into realising such an endeavor - it was literally a golden path across the water - no barricades to prevent children falling in (though authorities constantly patrolled in zodiacs for safety), and it held the weight of tens of thousands of people at any one time. Water lapped the edges, sailing boats traversed the lake and helicopters flew overhead as people lay on its surface enjoying something so incredibly special. Commercial divers from France had installed the highly engineered underwater anchors to hold the 200,000 cubes in place and 100,000 square meters of fabric was sewn together to form the intensely golden path that made it such a visual feast.

I loved the accessibility of this creation - Christo funded the entire event himself - he takes no money for his work, no sponsorship, all workers were paid and entry to experience it was absolutely free. He also funded all the additional services the small towns needed to deal with an influx of 1.2 million people over such a short period. 

Overwhelming, the laughter of those present was intoxicating - all ages, all nationalities - everyone was enjoying art and being inspired by what such an incredible imagination can gift to a community. It was an artwork that lifts the spirit in such a positive way and will stay with me forever. Experiencing this ground breaking creativity was pure delight.