Bonn – Haus der Geschichte (Covering the Reichstag)

I remember when an artist wrapped the Reichstag in Berlin, perhaps one of the largest art installations that there has been in Germany. The artist was Christo, who spent 24 years planning this project and being turned down on numerous occasions. His persistence is incredible and he went to speak to every one of the 350 deputies in a bid to convince them to support the project. He was able to win a majority over by promising that it was simply an art project, that it was self-funding and that all of the materials were recyclable.

I’ve never given much thought to this project, but I always thought the covering was something like a thin and lightweight fabric. This though would have likely torn and looked ridiculous, so it was more of a metallic covering that was used. It didn’t come cheaply, as it cost over $15 million at the time, a significant sum of money. The artist has a policy that an artwork is never repeated and it can’t last for more than two weeks, so that was how long the covering remained over the building. The photo above shows a small piece of material which was used in the covering, which is “a thick woven polypropylene fabric with an aluminium surface”.

The covering was unveiled on 24 June 1995 and it took 90 professional climbers and 120 installation workers to complete the work. The artist funded the project by selling original drawings and models, with no sponsorship money or public funds used. The photos on the artist’s web-site show just how amazing this must have looked.

And what it looked like….