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What: The Floating Piers, Art Project
Where: Lake Iseo, Italy
It’s good to have friends everywhere. Particularly if they then also have a house at Lake Iseo, where the American environmental artist Christo has just covered half of the lake. Lago what? I do know the Lago di Como and Lake Lugano, but must confess that I had never heard of the fourth largest of the Italian lakes. Last weekend, our friends asked us to join their terrace party above the lake, from where we were able to see Christos art, ‘The Floating Piers’ on the water from an optimum perspective. An occasion to which all faces from the international art world show up and since its start on June 18*, already more than 500,000 art enthusiasts from around the world made pilgrimages to this contemplative place Sulzano.
Since Christos projects ‘The Gates’ 2005 in New York and the veiled Berlin Reichstag in 1995, which he realized with his wife Jeanne-Claude, who died in 2009, the Floating Piers must be the largest and probably the last wrapping project of the 81 years old artist. In 2014, Christo and his team chose the by Bergamo Alps framed, picturesque Lake Iseo. Here Christo installed three kilometer long bridges that connect Sulzano with the islands Monte Isola and San Paolo. The special feature of this floating pontoons is the yellow-orange material which conceals the lands and optically connects the mainland by another one and a half kilometer pedestrian paths in Sulzano and Monte Isola.
The influx of visitors – even for the organizer – is larger than expected: more than 55,000 visitors crowd through the narrow streets of Sulzanos every day, and wait patiently at temperatures of 35 degrees partly up to four hours before they can enter the Floating Piers. In the evening, the situation relaxes a little and I was able to enter the Floating Piers without queuing for hours. What a great atmosphere! The low sun made the yellow-orange fabric that was manufactured by a German company, shine. So did the faces of the visitors, who gratefully enjoyed the refreshing breeze after extreme waiting hours in the heat. The atmosphere was so nice, all somehow in a good mood: What a Happening!
I walked barefoot on the Floating Piers, wanted to feel the catchy and yet soft surface of the substance. Delightful, this permanent, gentle swinging, that intensified when the patrol lifeboats drove past. Enjoying the view of the mountains and the sightlines of Piers, with slightly fluctuating waves, although I already had mainland under my feet again. The Floating Piers are an appeal to all senses, an absolute highlight, although a temporary one, as all events of Christo are limited in time. On July 3, the show is over, then the Floating Piers are degraded and in the idyllic Sulzano – and the house of my friends – returns to ease. BvH
View on the shore of Sulzano
*Info Floating Piers:
Christo’s art installation ‘The Floating Piers’ can be seen for a total of 16 days. Those who want to reach the island Monte Isola and from there San Paolo by foot through the 16 -meter wide, floating in the water lands, can do that until July 3, 2016. After that the by Christo financed, 15 million expensive artwork, will be recycled. Admission is free.
Can’t be bothered to wait for hours? Then you have to get up early. In the morning at 6 am or after 8 pm the Floating Piers are less crowded. Around 10 pm the last visitors were able to enter the ridges. There is the possibility to visit the island Monte Isola by boat. Tickets for this should be booked online in advance.