Posted: July 18th, 2016 -
Our journey to Christo’s latest installation in Italy
June 13th – ArtBasel opens its doors to the First Choice collectors and Annely Juda of London is the only gallery to exhibit one of the many preparatory works Christo produced for his most recent installation on Lago d’Iseo – the Floating Piers. Taschen is selling the books in the ground floor book store. The lady tells me “as you are going there yourself” to buy my copy in Iseo because she is running out of stock already.
July 3rd – I take my first road trip in a very long time through the Mont Blanc tunnel, along the Val d’Aosta towards Venice. The whole of Italy is quiet, they just lost to Germany in the UEFA Cup.
However, all the hotels are fully booked around Lago d’Iseo, the first reasonably priced accommodation lies some 40 km away in Brescia, a beautiful ancient agricultural monastery by the name of Santonello. As I make my way towards the lake shores, there are more and more cars parked hay wild along the dusty road. It is hot. I find a spot and begin to walk. I still have not seen any water.
I hear in the crowd that the piers are sinking and that the authorities are closing access. I get there. The queue is not as bad as I had imagined and I embark on the crossing. The pier is a series of floating cubes attached to one another and covered with a bright orange double weave sail type material. The sides are wet and dark, the middle is hot and dirty. The orange shines brightly across the lake, the island and all around. People, like ants are following this strange path, like a “yellow brick road” in the Italian country side.
I am told that we need to leave as the night falls. We can come back at 5 tomorrow morning. And I do. With thousands of other enthusiasts. We cross and embark on the walk around the island. There are several places where a cup of coffee would have been ideal but they do not open until 10 am. So I find a spot to sit and admire the view, observe the people, and ponder. I decide to hail a small boat and for a mere EUR 15.- I hop on to enjoy the beautiful Christo from the water. I finally begin to enjoy the whole adventure.