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Christo’s Floating Piers Installation Allows You to Walk on Water

Marks the artist's first large-scale project since the passing of his wife

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'The Floating Piers'
People walk on the monumental installation ‘The Floating Piers’ by artist Christo on June 18, 2016. (Marco Bertorello/AFP/Getty Images)

At 81, artist Christo continues to take on projects of a scale unimaginable to most of his contemporaries. His latest installation lets visitors to Northern Italy’s Lake Iseo actually walk on water. “The Floating Piers” is a walkway stretching nearly two miles into the lake, linking two islands to the mainland.

'The Floating Piers'
Approximately 200,000 floating cubes placed on the lake make a runway connecting the village of Sulzano to the small island of Monte Isola. (Pier Marco Tacca/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Christo has long championed temporary works: “Our works are nomadic, just like people. They appear somewhere for a short time and then they are gone forever.” This effort is particularly fleeting, open for only 16 days. (It closes on July 3.) It’s proved even more popular than expected, as 270,000 people visited it in the first five days, a massive number for a place where only 2,000 people normally live.

'The Floating Piers'
(Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)

Entrance is free, and the project’s estimated cost of $17 million was self-financed by the artist.

'The Floating Piers'
(Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)

Christo conceived of the idea with his wife Jeanne-Claude back in 1970. The project, however, had to be executed without her. Jeanne-Claude passed in 2009 at the age of 74.

 

'The Floating Piers'
(Marco Bertorello/AFP/Getty Images)

Christo had not taken on a large-scale project since her death. His previous one was he and his wife’s collaboration, “The Gates,” in New York’s Central Park in 2005.

Cristo and Jeanne-Claude's "The Gates
Cristo and Jeanne-Claude’s ‘The Gates: A Project For New York’ sits during a snow storm in Central Park on February 21, 2005. (Matthew Peyton/Getty Images)

Watch an aerial video of people walking the Floating Piers to get a full sense of what Christo called “people walking nowhere.”