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#1 Posted : 11 February 2019 08:28:39(UTC)

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Joined: 23/12/2014(UTC)
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Location: Beijing

by Marzia De Giuli

PILZONE, Italy, June 18 (Xinhua) -- From Saturday throughout 16 days, visitors of Lake Iseo in northern Italy will be able to enjoy the landscape from a very new perspective, the "Floating Piers," or a three-kilometer-long walkway just above the surface of the water.

The Floating Piers is a project by Bulgarian-born American artist Christo, whose full name is Christo Javacheff. "Look! There is also an enormous view there, above the island," Christo said as he walked on the shimmering yellow fabric chosen as the walkway's covering, surrounded by journalists eager to grasp the concept.

Lake Iseo is located about 100 km east of Italy's business capital Milan. The walkway, supported by floating pontoons formed by over 200,000 high-density polyethylene cubes, connects two small islands in the middle of the lake, the Monte Isola and San Paolo, to each other and to the town of Sulzano on the mainland.

"The work of art is not the fabric. The work of art is also the water of lake Iseo. The work of art is a part of the houses of Monte Isola. All of that is the work of art," Christo said pointing at the mountains surrounding the lake.

He explained that the light and water will transform the bright yellow fabric to a variety of shades throughout the next 16 days. "For example, in the morning with humidity it turns almost red," beside gold, orange and other colors, Christo said. He suggested to walk bare foot on the walkway so to feel it undulating with the movement of the waves while noting unknown angles.

The 81-year-old artist, world-renowned for having "packed" the Pont Neuf in Paris, the Reichstag in Berlin and the Pinciana Gate in Rome, highlighted what he called the "physicality" of The Floating Piers. "It is not a virtual work, it is not a painting. You need to go there and walk there. Actually the project is the journey," he stressed.

The Floating Piers is expected to draw more than half a million visitors, according to Italian media. Around 150 lifeguards and volunteers will be posted on the walkway to ensure safety and avert unintentional dips in the lake.

Asked by Xinhua about the short opening compared to 22 months spent to realize The Floating Piers along with his team, Christo answered that each project is like a vulnerable slice of life, so that the important part is its temporary quality.

"The work needs to be gone, because I do not own the work, no one does... Nobody can buy that work, nobody can make money of that work," he underlined.

Completely free, with no tickers or reservations, and accessible 24 hours a day (weather permitting), The Floating Piers cost Christo around 15 million euros (nearly 17 million U.S. dollars) which will be funded through the sale of his original works of art. At the close, the walkway will be dismantled and its components removed and industrially recycled.

Christo told journalists that the project was first conceived in 1970 together with his wife Jeanne-Claude, who passed away in 2009. It was originally envisioned for the delta of Rio de la Plata in Argentina, but they failed to get the permits, and later failed again when they considered Tokyo Bay. The Italian project went smoothly thanks to the help of local officials and administrators, he said.

Lake Iseo is considered as northern Italy's least famous lake, but the mayor of Monte Isola, Fiorello Turla, said it will not be the same after this event. "We have been given a great opportunity that we want to seize and also bring forward in the future," he told Xinhua while enjoying the view of Monte Isola from The Floating Piers.

Turla said that Lake Iseo so far had been playing "the role of Cinderella," overshadowed by neighboring bigger lakes. "But from now on, Monte Isola will change skin and become attractive to foreign visitors also for long stays. And furthermore, our administration has not spent a single euro for the realization of project," he concluded. Enditem

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