CHRISTO (1935-2020) and Jeanne-Claude (1935-2009) photograph by Wolfgang Volz (B. 1948) The Umbrellas, Japan, 1991
color photograph mounted on dibond signed ‘Christo, Jeanne-Claude, Wolfgang Volz’ numbered 2/3 100 x 300 cm Excellent condition The Umbrellas is the only project that took place in two continents, it was an environmental artwork designed to highlight the similarities and differences between Japan and the United States. At sunrise, on October 9, 1991, Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s 1,880 workers began to open the 3,100 umbrellas in Ibaraki and California, in the presence of the artists at both sites. The choice of the locations was based on an aesthetic contrast: a surface burned by the sun in Southern California and a wet landscape in Japan. These countries were the world’s richest ones at the time, and the project explored the cultural dimension of both territorial spaces. In the limited space of Japan, the umbrellas were positioned close together, sometimes following the geometry of the rice fields. In the flourishing landscape enriched by water, the umbrellas were blue. The Umbrellas is created on pre-existing public spaces, belonging to all. Visitors could walk through the installation, thus creating a sensory and visual experience. The temporary setting of the umbrellas related also to the ephemeral character of the work of art.