Other Artworks Featuring Oil Barrels

Wall of Oil Barels,
Iron Curtain

Rue Visconti, Paris 1962



Christo and Jeanne-Claude
Wall of Barrels, Iron Curtain,
Rue Visconti, Paris 1962

Photo: Jean-Dominique Lajoux,
©1962 Christo

Wall of Oil Barrels, Iron Curtain, Rue Visconti, Paris, 1962

During 8 hours on the evening of June 27, 1962, Christo and Jeanne-Claude closed the Rue
Visconti with 240 oil barrels.

The art barricade was 4.3 x 3.8 x 1.7 meters (14 x 12.5 x 5.6 feet). It obstructed most of the traffic of the Paris Left Bank.

The artists did not alter the industrial colors of the oil barrels, leaving the brand names and the rust visible.

Rue Visconti is one of the narrowest streets in Paris. Since the sixteenth century many illustrious tenants lived in the houses of the Rue Visconti, such as Racine, Adrienne Lecouvreur, Delacroix and Balzac.

The Berlin Wall had been built in August of 1961 and Algerian War protest demonstrations and barricades were taking place in Paris at the same time as Christo and Jeanne-Claude created the temporary work of art.

Text from Christo and Jeanne-Claude for a permit application to the French governmental agency - The Paris Préfecture.

"Project for a Temporary Wall of Oil Barrels, Rue Visconti, Paris,VI ième.

Rue Visconti is a one way street, between Rue Bonaparte and Rue de Seine, 176 meters long with an average width of 4 meters. The street ends at number 25 on the left side and at 26 on the right.

It has few shops: a bookstore, a modern art gallery, an antique shop, and electrical supply shop, a grocery store. "...At the angle of Rue Visconti and Rue de Seine, the cabaret du Petit More (or Maure) was opened in 1618. The poet Saint-Amant, an assiduous customer, died there.

The art gallery that now stands on the site of the tavern has fortunately retained the façade and the seveteenth-century sign. (p.134, Rocheguide/Clebert, Promenades dans les rues de Paris. Rive Gauche, Editions Denoël.)

The Wall will be built between numbers 1 and 2, completely closing the street to traffic, and will cut all communication between Rue Bonaparte and Rue de Seine.

Constructed with 50 liter capacity oil barrels, the Wall will be 4.3 meters high, and will be as wide as the street: 3.8 meters.

This Iron Curtain can be used as a barricade during a period of public work in the street, or to transform the street into a dead end. Finally its principle can be extended to a whole area or an entire city.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Paris, October 1961."


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