Christo and Jeanne-Claude, respectively, are environmental sculptors noted for their controversial outdoor sculptures that often involved monumental displays of fabrics and plastics. The environmental works the pair have created span great distances in populated landscapes, both rural and urban,interacting with its immediate surroundings, and revealing the beauty in nature or of our built environments.
Christo’s art (in collaboration with his wife, Jeanne-Claude) uses a more planned-out, avant-garde approach to create bold visual impacts that force viewers to see their environments from new perspectives. Exaggerating this visual impact is the typically massive scale of each project. Brightly colored swaths of fabric are draped over buildings and across landscapes in mind-boggling quantities, creating a contrast that calls attention to the forms and topographies of environments that may have otherwise been taken for granted. As such, his methods have been characterized as providing “revelation through concealment”. The environment is carefully protected during the construction and display of all projects and all materials are recycled at the end of projects.
Two of my favorite of their work is Wrapped Trees and The Floating Piers, both featured here.
After 32 years of planning and preparation work, between 13 November and 14 December 1998, Christo and Jeanne-Claude wrapped 178 trees alongside the road in the Beyeler Foundation‘s “Berower Park” in the north-eastern part of Basel.
In wrapping the trees, a pattern had to be made for each individual tree so that the natural shape of the branches pushed the fabric outwards, creating individual shapes in the sky. The trees varied in height from 2 to 25 meters and in width from 1 to nearly 15 meters. As with their other projects, this was financed by the sale of original works. On view for three weeks, Wrapped Trees was extremely dynamic: varying silhouettes of trees moved in the wind with the skeletal framework of branches made visible when the translucent material was backlit by the winter sun. All materials used were recycled when it was taken down.
The Floating Piers
The Floating Piers were a series of walkways installed at Lake Iseo near Brescia, Italy. From June 18 to July 3, 2016, visitors were able to walk just above the surface of the water from the village of Sulzano on the mainland to the islands of Monte Isola and San Paolo. The floating walkways were made of around 200,000 polyethylene cubes covered with 70,000 square metres (750,000 sq ft) of bright yellow fabric: 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) of piers moved on the water; another 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) of golden fabric continued along the pedestrian streets in Sulzano and Peschiera Maraglio. After the exhibition, all components were removed and recycled.