Wrapped Reichstag | Chicago Reader

Wrapped Reichstag

In 1971 the installation artist Christo and partner Jeanne-Claude began planning a project to wrap Berlin's Reichstag building in white fabric. This 1996 documentary, directed by Jörg Daniel and Wolfram Hissen, follows the project almost from its inception, as the artists circle the historic seat of Germany's parliament in the snow of a divided city, through the complicated processes of getting permission, sewing the fabric, and slowly dropping great rolls of it from the roof. The huge, ornate, aggressively classical building is profoundly transformed into a gentler, more sensual, and more organic shape, its white folds flapping in the wind. The film's German title—Dem deutschen Volke (“to the German people”)—repeats the inscription high on the building's facade and presents the project as a gift to Germany, an alternative architecture countering the nation's dark history.

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