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Friday, 29 March 2013

The Man Who Wrapped the Reichstag



The man who wrapped the Reichstag hung a dress
of haute coutour on an iconic bull;
a delicate and spectral garment full
of silver glints and feminine finesse.

He who wrapped the Reichstag found a princess
in an ancient warrior king -- a cool
exposure of the way such lines can rule
or free a vision, hide it or express.

Who wrapped the Reichstag showed a diff'rent view,
as of a person, intimately known --
as many sides as there were folk to see.

Though viewers often asked for some small clue,
Meaning, he'd say, is something art's outgrown.
An art work's single purpose is to be.


In Form for All at dVerse Poets Samuel Peralta challenges us to write a Miltonian Sonnet. Hopefully, I have!

NOTE: The name of the man who wrapped the Reichstag is Christo. The project took a million square feet of fire-proof polypropylene fabric covered by an aluminium layer -- and 15 km of rope.

The image is from Wiki Commons.

26 comments:

Brian Miller said...

ha. when did this happen? (1955) wonder at the symbolism....but then i chased it down a bit and they state there is none...so like your last line the purpose is just to be...huh...interesting...what a massive project as well eh? nice use of the form sir dave

Claudia said...

i like how things change and how you focus much more on the contours once they're wrapped. christo's well known...he also wrapped trees very close to where i live

Claudia said...

came back for another read..really cool piece...Meaning, he'd say, is something art's outgrown.
An art work's single purpose is to be...love it

Claudia said...

finding a princess in an ancient warrior king..so cool how art makes us see the familiar in a totally different way. and helps us to look at things from a different perspective.....i confess...read it for the fourth time..really a cool piece..

Brudberg said...

I so remember Christo, when all was post-modernism... I wander which ism we live in now. Commercialism ?

aprille said...

Those 'artists' do require nothing much: only a work of art created by somebody else.
Like those cluttering up nature's art with sticks and stones. [which I feel like throwing at the minute :-)]
And then to allow yourself the scale of demented architects, indulging whims on this scale, well, what's the word I am looking for? [apart from peevishness of course ]MEGALOMANIA.

Sorry David. The poem reads so well.A genuine Miltonian p.o.v. mick taking

Mary said...

This is quite fascinating, Dave. I can't imagine the time involved in such a project and how he happened to be granted permission to do this.

L said...

Like the way you look at things!
Cool critique.

Heaven said...

And that last line wraps this beautiful sonnet powerfully ~ Good work Dave, a pleasure to read ~

Beth Winter said...

I saw the beauty of the conflicting images and when I reach the closing line, I understood completely. A wonderful sonnet. Thank you.

Lolamouse said...

Very interesting and well done sonnet! I'm not sure I get Christo, but then again, I guess I'm not supposed to "get" anything. It just is, right?

Sabio Lantz said...


OK, I'll forgive the lack of iambic -- but only because this is so damn clever:
combining art, through art, on the philosophy of art and all captured through current events in ancient style. Only an artist could pull this off. Superb, Mr. King. 'Tis a necessary irony though, that your art/poem was not merely "to be" but to offer clues and meaning so as to share why Mr. Christo's could get away with neither. :-)

Semaphore said...

I admire Christo's avowed purpose of drawing attention to a structure by making it disappear... but here, in your sonnet, you've highlighted an amazing transformation that I overlooked, that of the change from masculine to feminine. Apart from the impeccable structure, and the careful craftsmanship (the first-line refrain for the verse, the volta in the final verse), this poem made me stop and think - and that means you've succeeded. Bookmark-worthy!

Anonymous said...
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kkkkaty said...

An ode to modern outdoor public art using Milton'sar artform ..I like it..to be interpreted and discussed or ignored or loved...

kaykuala said...

Art finds its way in many different ways.It's amazing to know of such an artist. Thanks for sharing. Excellent take Dave!

Hank

rowantaw.com said...

Wonderful sonnet, and a fascinating piece of art work.

marousia said...

I love this - beautifully crafted - I too enjoy Christo's work that challenges the viewer - love the way you play with transformation

Cloudia said...

So the Reichstag is a cross-dresser?

Dave, may I steal:
" "of silver glints and feminine finesse." David King
for a title, or something?

ALOHA from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral
~ > < } } ( ° > <3

Elephant's Child said...

Wrapping the Reichstag is one thing, but there have been at least one (and I think more) artists who wrap coastlines and natural features. I have huge difficulties here since their art would kill small animals/birds/insects. Not art in my understanding.
Just the same, I think the Reichstag looked quite stylish in its draperies.

Carl said...

Awesome piece. Enjoyed the poem and its point of view.

Rachna Chhabria said...

"of silver glints and feminine finesse." Love this sentence. Cool poem.

Dave King said...

Brian
My info' is that it was chieved in 1995, though it had taken 30 years+ to acquire the necessary permissions. The installation was in place for 2 weeks.

Claudia
Yeeah, I'm afraid I was guilty of puttin words into his mouth. I tried to state his views as I understood them, but (initially) I quite wrongly put them in italics as though they were a direct quotation. It certainly is the case that he believes his works to have no "meaning", religious, political, social etc. (And will not even discuss such possibilities.) They just ARE.

Brudberg
Yup, I think that says it how it is.

aprille
No apology needed.
He started small, of course - bottles, oil drums, that sort of thing. The sales of such now finance his larger works.

Mary
As I've put to Brian, it took upwards of 30 years to acquire the permissions,the actual wrapping was accomplished in a week, I believe.

L
Goos to have you visiting. Thanks for the comment.

Heaven
Thanks SO much. Really appreciate this.

Beth
Hi, Welcome to the blog, and many thanks for your generous remarks.

Lolamouse
Yes, indeed, you HAVE got it! He does say that by making stuff disappear he draws attention to it. Also that when something disappears something else appears.

Sabio
Ah, yes, I must concede the irony point. But then I do believe that irony is an important constituent of art - except where it would be too ironical to include it, of course. Thanks for the observations.

Semaphore
I must confess to being a little overwhelmed by your critique. I wasn't at all sure that I had grasped this one effectively. So very many thanks for your prompt and helpful response.

kkkkaty
I take your point. Yes, I think I agree: one or the other.

Hank
Thanks Hank. Always good to hear from you.

rowantaw
Really good to have your company on the blog. Thank you so much for your kind words.

marousia
A warm welcome to you. Thank you for visiting and for taking the time to comment.

Cloudia
Absolutely!

Elephant's Child
Yes, you are right, there have been quite a few, though Christo is probably the best known. He has "wrapped" trees, islands, all sorts - though"wrapping" takes on various meanings here!

Carl
Very many thanks. Much appreciated.

Rachna
Thanks a lot. Really good to have your views.


manicddaily said...

Hi Dave-- I actually kind of like Christo and I think he has more meaning than he appears = this one looks kind of interesting to me - and a lot of window dressing certainly gets applied to all of these types of buildings. He did a great one in Central Park as a gift to the city (New York) called the Gates, which was just lovely and great fun.

You handle the form beautifully = and maybe just being beautiful is in fact enough! I don't know. Thanks. k.

Sabio Lantz said...

Hey, you are welcome for the observations. If you are ever tempted, I'd deep enjoy in-depth speculation, criticisms or thoughts when you visit my site.

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Clever write Dave.

I have never seen art in wrapped-up structures - but your words are art because of it.

(Love your words.)

Anna :o]