Documented with uncensored access to Christo and his team, Andrey Paounov’s Walking on Water is a cinema vérité look at the celebrated artist and his process, from inception to completion of 2016’s most visited art event—The Floating Piers, a stretched 2-mile dahlia-yellow walkway that allowed over 1.2 million visitors to safely walk across stretches of Italy’s Lake Iseo to experience the sensation of floating and walking on water. Walking on Water opens in theaters beginning May 17.
Originally conceived with his wife and collaborator Jeanne-Claude before she died in 2009, it was his first public installation since their epic The Gates project in Central Park in 2005. The film takes the viewer on a journey into Christo’s world, unmediated by interviews, voice-overs or reenactments, drawing a portrait of an artist who deliberately places visceral experience over demagogy. This intimate look at a man chasing (and eventually realizing) a larger-than-life dream happens against the backdrop of the epic madness of it all—the complex dealings that merge between art and state politics, engineering challenges and logistical nightmares, and the sheer force of nature, captured through breathtaking aerial views and fly-on-the-wall cameras.
THE FLOATING PIERS – A TIMELINE:
1969: Christo and Jeanne-Claude propose Project for Rio de la Plata (2000 Metres Wrapped, Inflated Pier) inArgentina, the artists’ first project that includes float-ing piers. While the proposal never goes forward, the artists’ wish to realize a project with a floating walk-way would resurface in the following decades.
1996: In Tokyo, Japan, the artists’ propose The Daiba Project, a temporary work of art that would use two floating promenades to connect two islands in Tokyo Bay to Odaiba park. Following a disagreement with the managers of the site, the artists’ cancel the project.April
2014: Christo and his team scout the northernItalian lakes; Maggiore, Como and Iseo before deciding on Lake Iseo. Christo re envisions the 45-year-old floating piers project for Lake Iseo in Northern Italy. The Floating Piers will include 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) of floating walkways as well as 2.5 kilometers (1.6 miles) of fabric-covered pedestrian streets.
August 2014: Christo and his team have the first of many meetings with the Italian authorities in an effort to obtain the necessary permits for the realization ofThe Floating Piers.
August – September 2014: The crew carries out a secret life-size test of The Floating Piers in Schleswig-Holstein in Northern Germany to evaluate the project’s structural requirements.
February 2015: Operations Director Vladimir Yavachev carries out an additional life-size test on the Black Seanear Sozopol, Bulgaria.
April 9, 2015: The local authorities approve the project and give Christo permission to build The Floating Piers.
Spring 2015:Fabrication of the project’s components begins.
Winter 2015: Assembly of the pier sectionals begins.
January 2016: Director of Construction Rosen Jeliaz-kov and his team of divers begin to install 240 anchors and 50 counterweights that will stabilize The FloatingPiers in Lake Iseo.
April 2016: The first pier sectionals are pulled to their final locations on Lake Iseo.
June 15, 2016: After assembling the pier sectionals that create the floating walkways, the Dahlia yellow fabric is delivered by helicopter and installed by The Floating Piers workforce.
June 18, 2018: Opening day of The Floating Piers.
July 3, 2018: Closing day of The Floating Piers. The temporary work of art attracts over 1.2 million visitors.