The Wall


An installation by Christo and Jeanne-Claude in the Gasometer, Oberhausen on the occasion of the final presentation of the International Building Exhibition, Emscher Park (IBA)

How do you describe a wall which is actually indescribable? Perhaps on the basis of figures. It was 26 metres high, 68 metres wide and seven metres deep. 'The Wall' consisted of 13,000 oil drums stacked on top of one another in seven colours which together weighed 234 tons. Yet with the listing of straightforward facts alone 'The Wall' can hardly be grasped. The installation by the world famous artist couple Christo and Jeanne-Claude fascinated about 390,000 visitors within only six months in 1999. A superlative work of art, realised by the Christo photographer Wolfgang Volz. These were quite new perspectives in the Oberhausen Gasometer.

Anyone who stood in front of the gigantic colourful wall and put his head right back must have felt very small. It seemed as if, in the gigantic, 110 metre-high air space of the gasometer, this effect was even reinforced by the wall. The impression changed only with the journey upwards in the panorama lift. Suddenly the gaily coloured wall that diametrically divided the gasometer, gave the impression of being quite small in relation to the gigantic space within the 'industrial cathedral'.

In a documentation exhibition below the gas pressure disc of the gasometer the visitors could get a picture of how the spectacular projects of the 'Christos' develop. For example 'The Umbrellas, Japan/USA, 1984 – 1991' or the shrouded Reichstag in Berlin (1971 – 1995). Great staying power and artistic vision are essential pre-requisites for the unique art of Christo and Jeanne-Claude. And with 'The Wall', the Gasometer was included in the series of unique, works of art created by Christo and Jeanne-Claude for a limited time.