The artist Christo and his partner Jeanne-Claude (who died in 2009) have been creating temporary large-scale environmental art installations since 1961. I had the good fortune to see Running Fence in Marin County, California in 1976
and The Umbrellas at Tejon Ranch in southern California in 1991.
Since Alekka and I were traveling by train from Spello to Calais, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to stop and check out Christo’s latest creation along the way.
Floating Piers was at Lake Iseo in Lombardy in northwestern Italy. Our Airbnb host met us at the train station in nearby Marone, for which we were very grateful because it was a long way up the mountain to her house.
We got settled in and then walked back down to the town for dinner.
The next morning we visited with our host’s adorable Jack Russell terriers, Jack and Jill.
It was hard to tear ourselves away, but after all, we did come here to see the Floating Piers.
Christo’s website describes the project: “From June 18 to July 3, 2016, Italy’s Lake Iseo was reimagined. The Floating Piers consisted of 100,000 square meters of shimmering yellow fabric, carried by a modular dock system of 220,000 high-density polyethylene cubes floating on the surface of the water.” The golden fabric covered some of the streets in the town of Sulzano on the mainland, the floating piers leading to two islands in the lake, and some streets on those islands.
We took a boat from Marone out to Monte Isola, the big island in the lake. We walked around the town there where the streets were covered with fabric. Some sections were looking a little worse for wear on day 14 of the 16-day exhibition, but it was still a cool effect.
Down by the water we learned that they were only allowing people to walk on one of the piers because of weather conditions. It seemed perfectly calm to me but those were the rules.
It was very crowded on that one pier so we got some food and sat at the edge of the lake in hopes that the other piers would open.
The piers were bright yellow and inviting and we were a bit jealous of the waterbirds who were obviously enjoying private access. But a couple of hours (and some beer, fries, and gelato) later, the guards changed the sign.
I’m already looking forward to Christo’s next projects, Over the River and The Mastaba.