Today’s appointment with the column “Long Ago in Spoleto” is a sort of special issue to celebrate a very influential figure in contemporary culture, an artist who died a few days ago and who had an important link with the city.
Long before his exploits at the Reichstag or Pont Neuf or the famous “Floating Piers” on Lake Iseo, Christo, born Christo Javachev, chose Spoleto to attempt, with his wife Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon, one of his first wrapping experiments, i.e. the wrapping of monuments, public buildings or entire natural settings.
It was 1968 when the sculptor, who would become one of the most illustrious exponents of Land Art – an anti-formalist movement created to bring art and nature into close dialogue – packed the fountain in Piazza del Mercato and the fortilizio dei Mulini with rope and polypropylene canvas.
Along with Octetra‘s creator Isamu Noguchi, now at Palazzo Collicola, Christo was one of the most interesting visual artists at the Spoleto Festival that year. He was even “the big surprise”, at least according to a short filmed account, produced by the Istituto Luce, available here: https://bit.ly/2z0fVKb.
In keeping with the spirit of the times, the short clip shows how certain daring cultural proposals and the artists’ eccentric behaviour were observed with no small amount of curiosity by the staid citizens. Even a passage from Gianni Toscano‘s and Sandro Morichelli‘s book “LA CITTA’ E IL FESTIVAL DEI DUE MONDI” recalls the atmosphere of those days and the amazement of the people of Spoleto at the unusually well-dressed fountain in Piazza del Mercato.
For more in-depth information on the artistic aspects, Christo’s official page provides a wealth of information and photographic, illustrative material (photos, sketches, descriptions) on the installation, which was conceived for Spoleto ‘68: https://bit.ly/2Xxpud7