A unique art project involving the largest self-supporting sculpture in the world.
Bulgarian-born Christo Javacheff certainly has established himself as an original artist. Together with his wife, Jeanne-Claude – who died in 2009 – he has created several remarkable works of art; not in the least remarkable because they were all temporary, never to last beyond their exhibition. A refreshing element of their art is that they do not claim to try to make a statement, they just create works of beauty that try to make people see a landscape with a different view. Perhaps most famous were the wrapping of the Pont Neuf – a bridge – in Paris in 1984, and of the Reichstag – the German parliament building – in Berlin in 1995. Their last project they did together was The Gates in 2005, in Central Park in New York, their home town for almost 40 years, where they installed some 7500 5-meter high gates covered in saffron-coloured cloth.
Now Christo has created The Big Air Package, for the first time without his wife. Inside the Gasometer in Oberhausen (Germany), a huge circular building that itself is a recognized industrial monument, a balloon-like sculpture of light cloth rises to 90 meters high, almost touching the walls of the cylinder. The form of the structure is controlled by ropes, and it is kept in the air by pressure generated from two ventilators; it has no frame. You can get inside the balloon, where thanks to the light cloth and the illumination from above through the glass roof of the Gasometer, a fabulous atmosphere of diffuse light is created.
The thing to do is to lie with your back on the floor, and look up (the second time I went, the organizers had gotten the message, and provided pillows…). And afterwards, take the lift up to get a view on top of the balloon, and if the weather permits, also a view of Oberhausen and the surrounding industries from the top of the Gasometer.