Big Air Package. Christo is back to Gasometer OberhausenEfesti
He started to pack late mid-century. At the beginning he was packing all kinds of objects, little ones if compared to those which were coming. It was hard to guess what could be hidden under the monochrome and neutralising fabric. Sometime it was just possible to glimpse the shape of a can, road-signs, a motorbike, sometimes even a car. So, he hid everything without any apparent reason other than the constant striving to evoke feelings of an alarming disconnection in his audience.
A never-ending disconnection, stretched to the limits and finally quantifiable only in square metres. How big is Leonardo’s statue in Piazza della Scala in Milan, or the one in Porta Pinciana in Rome? And what about the Kunstalle in Berne or the Museum of Modern Art in Chicago? What about the skyscrapers in Manhattan or the Reichstang in Berlin? It’s hard to know for sure, but Christo – who else – certainly wondered about it before to plan his “packages”, in order to quantify the necessary meters of tissue and polyethylene, of ropes and tie-rods.
The ultimate example is the Wrapped Coast, 95.600 square metres of the Australian coast transformed in a patchwork of fabric. But it’s not the only one: in a old gasometer in Oberhausen in Germany, 13.000 oil barrels became a colossal and colourful wall, dividing the ex-gas tank into two parts. It was 1999, and the work of art was The Wall. Now, after 14 years, the same gasometer (converted in 1994 into an exhibition space), Christo presents his new artistic project. No obstruction.
Not the usual packaging. No colours. No buildings were swallowed – just the air. 20.350 square metres of fabric in transparent polyester and 4.500 metres of rope for the biggest air structure ever built. Big Air Package, an fulfilling artwork, engaging and fascinating, engulfs the viewer in in a space able to disorient, to modify perception, to scare, to amaze and to disturb. A shell seen from the inside, for an unprecedented experience of alienation and a leap into the light shining from the gasometer’s skylight and from sixty additional projectors. A leap into an immaterial space – a white placenta. A return to the very beginning, in a new uterus, under the spell of echoing sounds. A new package indeed – of air and human beings this time – to be experienced until December 30, 2013.