The Floating Piers, Christo

The recent Fendi fashion show in Rome remembered me another famous floating runway of this summer: Fendi models who walked on top of Trevi fountain maybe didn’t want queue for The Floating Piers? The last art project of Christo, an orange pier about 4 km long that allowed to walk on the water of the Iseo lake.


First of all, for those Italians that: “Christo chose Iseo Lake because Italy it’s the most beautiful country of the world”.. well, keep calm. You should know that the first project of a floating pier was for Rio de la Plata, Argentine, in 1970, but authorities didn’t give their consent. After 25 years he tried again in Tokyo, but also Japan didn’t accept. These artworks were planned by Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude, who travelled with him from 1961. When she died in 2009, he decided to realise all projects they didn’t succeed in carry out together. And for The Floating Piers he finally find Iseo Lake with its two islands: Montisola and San Paolo.


It took 22 months for the constructions of all pieces and the realisation of the piers, not so many if you consider the 46 years of projects. 220.000 high-density polyethylene cubes have been jointed with 220.000 screws ( you think again you were good at playing Lego? ) and then everything was covered with 100.000 mq of orange fabric.

All this travel for just 16 days, from 18th June to 3rd July.


Lots of comments, lots of critics, lots of newspaper articles.

If you hadn’t the possibility to visit it, voilà a description. It wasn’t a typical painting or sculpture that you can see in a museum. It was an installation, it’s temporary, and it’s over! So, the only way to understand it, it’s to imagine the visit:


You’re arrived at Iseo lake, finally find a parking, take a shuttle, queue for maybe 2 hours under the sun, but ok, now you’re there: you walk on the water in the middle of the lake and.. a Staff member stop you ‘cause that part of the piers is closed with the advertisement: “Temporarily inaccessible due to maintenance works” that actually means: “There’s a VIP who doesn’t want to be around anyone, so the rest of you have to get closer together and leave him 1 km to take a fantastic Selfie”.


So, you keep walking on another part of the piers and you could have the chance to meet one of these characters:


Cristo on Christo: a boy with long beard and white tunic who baptized other visitors.


The Atheist: a woman who walked with a life belt because she probably hadn’t faith in Christo project.


The Rebel: “The artist suggests to walk barefoot.. I don’t do it, it’s disgusting!” ok, maybe it’s not the definition of hygiene, but you don’t have a great idea wearing high heels on a slippery and oscillating pier.


The Chameleon: a girl who try to blend in with blue water and orange fabric… oh, that’s me.IMG_2408 (2)


Trying to avoid these strange people, you find another Staff member (or maybe he find you because he isn’t so visible with the typical orange work uniform on an orange piers) who hand out little pieces of the fabric. A beautiful idea, a way to leave a souvenir and above all to avoid any weird idea, like the one of the boy walking in front of me: “I could take scissors and cut all pieces I want”. Anyway if you didn’t succeed in taking the free pieces, don’t worry, they’re on sale on eBay for only 40 euro.


You return at the start, after all you’re happy. You could have seen the lake from a new point of view and reach two islands walking on water. You floated, you swung, you smiled in the middle of the lake surrounded by mountains.This is Land Art. An art movement born in the USA at the end of 1960’s: the artist wants to transform the nature. The Floating Piers is Land Art, like the most projects of Christo. An installation art in which the landscape is involved and visitors become part of the artwork.
And going out, you can meet a women who really understood the project of Christo and tried to explain to her daughter the charm of Land Art: “ He’s stupid, he should put a ticket. You know how many money could he make?”.

Valentina Pizzi