It was a dream first imagined in 1970, and now it has finally become a reality – conceptual artist Christo has walked on water.
Over the weekend, he launched The Floating Piers, a temporary walkway that stretches nearly two miles and connects two small islands in Italy's Lake Iseo to each other and to the mainland.
Covered in 100,000 square metres of shimmering yellow fabric, it's carried by a modular floating dock system of 220,000 high-density polyethylene cubes. Visitors can experience this work of art by walking on it from Sulzano to Monte Isola and to the island of San Paolo, which is framed by The Floating Piers.
"Like all of our projects, The Floating Piers is absolutely free and accessible 24 hours a day, weather permitting,” said Christo. “There are no tickets, no openings, no reservations and no owners. The Floating Piers are an extension of the street and belong to everyone."
The piers are 16 metres wide and approximately 35 centimetres high with sloping sides. The fabric continues along 2.5 kilometres of pedestrian streets in Sulzano and Peschiera Maraglio.
“Those who experience The Floating Piers will feel like they are walking on water – or perhaps the back of a whale,” said Christo. “The light and water will transform the bright yellow fabric to shades of red and gold throughout the sixteen days.”
The Floating Piers was first conceived by Christo and his partner Jeanne-Claude in 1970. It is Christo’s first large-scale project since Christo and Jeanne-Claude realised The Gates in 2005, and since Jeanne-Claude passed away in 2009. As with all of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s projects, The Floating Piers is funded entirely through the sale of Christo’s original works of art. After the 16-day exhibition, all components will be removed and industrially recycled.