The Umbrellas

The Umbrellas

The Umbrellas

At dawn on 9 October 1991, in the presence of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, 3,100 umbrellas six metres tall and with a diameter of about 8.5 metres were opened in Ibaraki and California.

This temporary work of art was intended to investigate similarities and differences in ways of life and land use in two inner valleys, one 19 km long in Japan and the other 29 km long in the United States.

In Japan, the valley is located in the Prefecture of Ibaraki, and included the properties of 459 private landowners and government agencies. In the United States, the valley is located just under 100 kilometres north of Los Angeles, in the properties of Tejon Ranch with 25 private landowners and government agencies.

The umbrellas were dynamic, self-supporting modules shaped to the land morphology of each valley, creating a welcoming interior space, like houses without walls, or temporary settlements linked to the ephemeral character of the work of art.

In the precious and intimate space of Japan, the umbrellas were placed close together, sometimes following the geometry of the rice fields: in the lush vegetation with abundant water all year round, the umbrellas were blue.

In the vast uncultivated pastures of California, the distribution of the umbrellas was apparently random and extended in every direction like an explosion: the umbrellas among the arid hills covered with blonde grass were yellow.

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