A piece of heavy cloth, tightly secured with rope, wraps the contents of a fully loaded mining car on rails. The cloth is carefully draped to cover the entire car. The long rope has been artfully knotted in several places around the entire package. Shrouding the object in this way is designed to demonstrate that both car and load are precious. Something is being protected and preserved. The wrapping, which both shelters and conceals, sparks the viewer’s interest.
Package on a Hunt, in other words a mining car, is the title of this work by the artist couple Christo and Jeanne Claude. The pair are famous for their spectacular wrapping events in public spaces. Christo and Jeanne Claude have wrapped large buildings in shiny fabric, such as the Reichstag in Berlin or the Pont Neuf in Paris, and they’ve deployed acres of fabric to transform and reshape entire landscapes and bodies of water.
Their wrappings are aesthetic interventions; they transmute landscapes and spaces for a limited period. In doing so, they direct our attention to the commonplace and make visible what is already present. That applies to the objects’ aesthetics as well as to their social and historical significance.
When Christo was honoured with the Kaiserring in 1987, some consideration was given to the idea of the artist having his own art project in Goslar. Back then, the artist visited the old town as well as Rammelsberg mine:
I remember visiting down in the ground, in the mine that was very impressive, I very much remember, this was the last ore of the silver mine who was operating since 1100, something like that.
In the late 1980s, after a tradition going back more than a thousand years, mining in Goslar was coming to an end. The ore reserves were exhausted. The last of the miners were having to leave the mine. The city of Goslar was facing major social and economic upheaval.
The artist couple came up with the idea of wrapping the last of the ore to be brought out of the silver mine in a mining car, along with the car itself.
The wrapping is a tribute; it evokes the memory of more than a thousand years of history and preserves it for the present and the future.
Foto 1: © Dr. Bettina Ruhrberg, 2018
Foto 2: © Inge Langner
Foto 3: © Mönchehaus Museum Goslar