It has been 18 years since Christo wrapped the Reichstag and 14 years after the installation “The Wall“ as the finale of the Emscher Park International Building Exhibition, Christo has now returned to Germany with a further extraordinary art project. The internationally acclaimed artist – for the first time without his wife Jeanne-Claude – will fill the Oberhausen Gasometer with his Big Air Package.
The “Big Air Package – Project for Gasometer Oberhausen, Germany“ was conceived by Christo in 2010 and is on show from Saturday 16 th March until 30th December 2013. The sculpture will be set up in the interior of the industrial monument and be made of 20,350 square metres of translucent fabric and 4,500 metres of rope. In the inflated state, the envelope, with a weight of 5.3 tons, reaches a height of more than 90 metres, a diameter of 50 metres and a volume of 177,000 cubic metres. The Big Air Package extends almost from wall to wall of the former gas holder and leaves merely the narrow surrounding passageway free from which the sculpture can be viewed from all sides. Moreover, air locks enable the visitors to experience the monumental work of art from the inside. Two fans generate a constant air pressure of 20 pascal (0.2 millibar) and keep the work of art upright.
The Big Air Package will thus be the largest inflatable envelope ever created that manages without a skeleton. Illuminated by the Gasometer’s skylights, it produces a diffuse atmosphere of light in its interior. Here, in the middle of the Big Air Package, a unique experience of space, proportion and shape is provided.
The Big Air Package sculpture will be accompanied by an exhibition at the lowest level in the Gasometer. It will show a selection of the most important projects realised by Christo and Jeanne-Claude in the most varied places throughout the world over the past five decades. Large-format photographs, films and designs will provide reminders of fascinating art events which, however, were always only for a limited period. The large-format photographs by Wolfgang Volz allow the projects to appear in their beauty and with their visionary force and make it possible to see what links the works of Christo and Jeanne-Claude.
In the Gasometer in Oberhausen, Christo and Jeanne-Claude already caused a stir with an installation in 1999. They built “The Wall“ with 13,000 oil drums. This was a 26 metre (85 feet) high wall which spanned the entire width of the industrial monument. The work of art was one of the highlights of the final presentation of the International Building Exhibition, Emscher Park, comprising the conversion of the industrial core of the Ruhr. “The Wall” was stringent and geometrical like the material and its surroundings but also playful, creative and colourful.
CHRISTO: BIG AIR PACKAGE Gasometer Oberhausen from March 16 until December 30, 2013