“The Pont Neuf Wrapped”
The Pont Neuf stands proudly over the river Siene, in the heart of Paris, France. Lined with gargoyles, this stone symbol of monarchical power was constructed during a time rife with war and disease. Aesthetically pleasing in its own way, the artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude had their own take on this landmark. After nine years of negotiations between the artists and French government, the Pont Neuf was wrapped with a golden sandstone fabric and bound with rope.
“Is this artwork?” Some may ask. After all, anyone can wrap a bridge in fabric. What this bridge was before is as important as what it was after its transformation. Grey, rough, and adorned with sinister figures, this stone giant was reduced to a soft and welcoming structure. The flow of the vertical lines in the fabric that descend into the Siene, the soft golden glow of the fabric, it’s very inviting and harmonious. Unfortunately this was temporary artwork. After two weeks the project was dismantled and the Pont Neuf was returned to its original state. Pictures of this artwork are widely available, but to see it as it was intended must have been a very unique experience.
I think this was made to fulfill the desires of the artists, as well as being a gift to the people of Paris. People tend to get accustomed to their surroundings because we see the same structures everyday. As beautiful as some architecture can be, it’s inevitable to just become used to it when you see it so frequently. A stone cold bridge transformed into a bridge that looks like it was made with golden linen. “The Pont Neuf Wrapped” makes a statement, while looking Aesthetically pleasing, all while serving its intended purpose as a bridge. Christo and Jeanne-Claude brought the gift of change, a break in the monotony for the people of Paris, if only for just two weeks.
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. “The Pont Neuf Wrapped, Paris, 1975-1985...