Wrapped Reichstag

Berlin
1971-95

After a struggle spanning the seventies, eighties and nineties, the wrapping of the Reichstag was completed on June 24, 1995 by a work force of 90 professional climbers and 120 installation workers. The Reichstag remained wrapped for 14 days and all materials were recycled.

1,076,390 square feet (100,000 square meters) of thick woven polypropylene fabric with an aluminum surface and 9.7 miles (15.6 kilometers) of blue polypropylene rope, diameter 1.26 inch (3.2 centimeters), were used for the wrapping of the Reichstag. The façades, the towers and the roof were covered by 70 tailor-made fabric panels, twice as much fabric as the surface of the building.

The work of art was entirely financed by the artists, as in all previous projects, through the sale of preparatory studies, drawings, collages, scale models as well as early works and original lithographs. The artists do not accept sponsorship of any kind.

The Wrapped Reichstag represents not only 24 years of efforts in the lives of the artists but also years of team work by its leading members Michael S. Cullen, Wolfgang and Sylvia Volz, and Roland Specker.

The Reichstag stands up in an open, strangely metaphysical area. The building has experienced its own continuous changes and perturbations: built in 1894, burned in 1933, almost destroyed in 1945, it was restored in the sixties, but the Reichstag always remained the symbol of Democracy.

Throughout the history of art, the use of fabric has been a fascination for artists. From the most ancient times to the present, fabric forming folds, pleats and draperies is a significant part of paintings, frescoes, reliefs and sculptures made of wood, stone and bronze. The use of fabric on the Reichstag follows the classical tradition. Fabric, like clothing or skin, is fragile; it translates the unique quality of impermanence.

For a period of two weeks, the richness of the silvery fabric, shaped by the blue ropes, created a sumptuous flow of vertical folds highlighting the features and proportions of the imposing structure, revealing the essence of the Reichstag.

Wrapped Reichstag (Project for West Berlin -
Christo
Wrapped Reichstag (Project for West Berlin - "Der Deutsche Reichstag")
Collage 1972
22 x 28" (56 x 71 cm)
Pencil, charcoal, pastel, wax crayon, fabric, staples, photographs, map and tape
Private collection
Photo: Archive
© 1972 Christo
Wrapped Reichstag (Project for Der Deutsche Reichstag - Berlin)
Christo
Wrapped Reichstag (Project for Der Deutsche Reichstag - Berlin)
Collage 1977
22 x 28" (56 x 71 cm)
Pencil, fabric, twine, pastel, charcoal and wax crayon
Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany
Photo: Archive
© 1977 Christo
Wrapped Reichstag (Project for Berlin)
Christo
Wrapped Reichstag (Project for Berlin)
Drawing 1979 in two parts
15 x 96" and 42 x 96" (38 x 244 cm and 106.6 x 244 cm)
Pencil, charcoal, pastel, wax crayon and map
Photo: André Grossmann
© 1979 Christo
Wrapped Reichstag (Project for Berlin)
Christo
Wrapped Reichstag (Project for Berlin)
Scale model 1981 (Detail)
33 1/2 x 167 3/4 x 191 1/4" (85 x 426 x 486 cm)
Fabric, twine, wood and paint
Photo: Wolfgang Volz
© 1981 Christo
Wrapped Reichstag (Project for Berlin)
Christo
Wrapped Reichstag (Project for Berlin)
Collage 1994
14 x 11" (35.5 x 28 cm)
Pencil, enamel paint, wax crayon, photographic postcard by R. Koehler, charcoal, ball-point pen, fabric sample, aerial photograph and tape on brown board
Photo: André Grossmann
© 1994 Christo
Wrapped Reichstag (Project for Berlin)
Christo
Wrapped Reichstag (Project for Berlin)
Drawing 1994 in two parts
65 x 42" and 65 x 15" (165 x 106.6 cm and 165 x 38 cm)
Pencil, charcoal, pastel, wax crayon, fabric sample, aerial photograph and technical data
Collection Agnes Gund, New York City, USA
Photo: André Grossmann
© 1994 Christo
Wrapped Reichstag (Project for Berlin)
Christo
Wrapped Reichstag (Project for Berlin)
Collage 1995
14 x 22" (35.5 x 56 cm)
Pencil, enamel paint, wax crayon, photograph by Wolfgang Volz, charcoal, map, fabric sample and tape
Photo: Wolfgang Volz
© 1995 Christo
Wrapped Reichstag (Project for Berlin)
Christo
Wrapped Reichstag (Project for Berlin)
Drawing 1995 in two parts
15 x 96" and 42 x 96" (38 x 244 cm and 106.6 x 244 cm)
Pencil, pastel, charcoal, wax crayon, technical data, aerial map and fabric sample
Photo: Wolfgang Volz
© 1995 Christo
Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, 1971-95
Christo and Jeanne-Claude
Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, 1971-95
Photo: Roland Bauer
© 1995 Christo
Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, 1971-95
Christo and Jeanne-Claude
Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, 1971-95
Photo: Wolfgang Volz
© 1995 Christo
Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, 1971-95
Christo and Jeanne-Claude
Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, 1971-95
Photo: Sylvia Volz
© 1995 Christo
Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, 1971-95
Christo and Jeanne-Claude
Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, 1971-95
Photo: Wolfgang Volz
© 1995 Christo
Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, 1971-95
Christo and Jeanne-Claude
Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, 1971-95
Photo: Wolfgang Volz
© 1995 Christo
Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, 1971-95
Christo and Jeanne-Claude
Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, 1971-95
Photo: Wolfgang Volz
© 1995 Christo
Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, 1971-95
Christo and Jeanne-Claude
Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, 1971-95
Photo: Wolfgang Volz
© 1995 Christo
Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, 1971-95
Christo and Jeanne-Claude
Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, 1971-95
Photo: Wolfgang Volz
© 1995 Christo
Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, 1971-95
Christo and Jeanne-Claude
Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, 1971-95
Photo: Wolfgang Volz
© 1995 Christo
Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, 1971-95
Christo and Jeanne-Claude
Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, 1971-95
Photo: Wolfgang Volz
© 1995 Christo