Christo (1935-2020) & Jeanne-Claude (1935-2009),
Poster, Biscayne Bay, 1983,
Photo by Wolfgang Volz
© Christo & Jean-Claude
You must come away and rest for a while
The apostles rejoined Jesus and told him all they had done and taught. Then he said to them, ‘You must come away to some lonely place all by yourselves and rest for a while’; for there were so many coming and going that the apostles had no time even to eat. So they went off in a boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves. But people saw them going, and many could guess where; and from every town they all hurried to the place on foot and reached it before them. So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he set himself to teach them at some length.
Reflection on the art installation
At the beginning of our Gospel reading today, the disciples return to Jesus after completing the mission on which Jesus had sent them. They were keen to share with him all they had done and taught. The response of Jesus was to take them away to a deserted place where they could rest. Jesus thereby affirms the value of rest and recreation. In fact, he consecrates this time of rest. Furthermore, in the first chapter of the Bible in the Book of Genesis, we are told that even God rested after working for six days. We all need a regular time of rest and recreation.
‘Recreation’ suggests new creation, 're'-creation.
We all need to be created anew on a regular basis. Physically we can do this by going on holidays if time and money permit this. But we constantly have to be created anew as well spiritually. When we go to Church, that is what we do: we rest with God and offer him the opportunity to renew us.
When we think of holidays and resting, our minds may wander off to idyllic islands with blue skies and clear waters. On 7 May 1983, contemporary artist Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude installed their project 'Surrounded Islands' in Biscayne Bay, close to Miami. Eleven of the islands were surrounded with 603,870 square meters (6.5 million square feet) of floating pink woven polypropylene fabric covering the surface of the water and extending out 61 meters (200 feet) from each island into the bay. The fabric was sewn into 79 patterns to follow the contours of the eleven islands. For two weeks, Surrounded Islands, spreading over 11.3 kilometres (7 miles), was seen, approached and enjoyed by the public, from the causeways, the land, the water and the air. Before the installation, marine and land crews picked up debris from the eleven islands, putting refuse in bags and carrying it away after they had removed some forty tons of varied garbage. As part of the project the islands were cleaned up. The pink fabric was recycled. As with Christo and Jeanne-Claude's previous art projects, Surrounded Islands was entirely financed by the artists, through the sale of preparatory drawings, collages, and early works. The artists did not accept sponsorship of any kind.
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