Project team:

artist: Christo and Jeanne-Claude
Curator: Peter Pachnicke
Project management: Wolfgang Volz

05. May 2013

Shades of white
Christo’s Big Air Package in the Gasometer in Oberhausen/D.

Text: Joachim Ritter
Photos: Wolfgang Volz

The intention of the designer is to define spaces through a balance of light and shadow, and give those spaces character and meaning through contrast and colour. Some go about this task in a far too complex or too technical way. Sometimes it is sufficient to give the volume shape and structure, as artist Christo has done in his latest project. The rest the light can handle on its own. Is that the difference between an artist and a designer?

It does not really matter what the difference is, or if there is one. But a lot can be learnt from what Christo has achieved with his latest project. Christo and his late wife and partner Jeanne-Claude (who died in 2009) are known worldwide for their so-called “wrappings”. In 1995 they wrapped the Reichstag in Berlin/D, a spectacle that was viewed by millions first hand.
But what happens when you attempt to wrap emptiness? It at least gives everyone the opportunity to taste his own experience of emptiness and to feel what you can feel in such a space. According to Christo: “There is no right or wrong interpretation. Everyone can see what he wants to see”. Project manager Wolfgang Volz described his experience of the space as how he would imagine heaven. And the work of art comprises no more than semi-transparent white polyester fabric, which has been precision-draped in an empty space and illuminated from above to generate a unique atmosphere in an unusual room.

But even emptiness has its limits, thank goodness. And these are rendered visible through light with the result that we do not lose ourselves completely in the space. On the contrary, this is what defines the space. And yet that is not enough to make the overall impression fascinating. It is the shadows that mark the spatial limits that lend the installation that certain something. You stand in the space, try to define its limits and are satisfied because you can make them out and can see that they exist. What would Wolfgang Volz’s vision of heaven be like if it did not have any definite limits? […]


The full version of the article can be found in PLD No. 87.
And our PLD magazine app (iPad App Store) contains a media-enhanced version.

My opinion:

Leave a comment / Kommentieren


©2018 published by VIA-Verlag | Marienfelder Strasse 18 | 33330 Guetersloh | Germany