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En attendant Christo

2019

neon, metal, transformer

197 x 12 x 0.5 inch (500 x 30 x 2 cm)

About

« EN ATTENDANT CHRISTO » ("Waiting for Christo") was created as part of an ephemeral public art intervention  inside the Medina of Marrakech created in collaboration with Moroccan artist Amine El Gotaibi. 


The two artists were invited to take over a decrepit old house just before its demolition. This traditional house, like many others in this ancient city, had been rebuilt in industrial concrete two decades ago, losing along the way all the traditional features that form the architectural identity of the old Medina. Thanks to some local initiatives of protection of the cultural heritage, It was now about to be demolished and rebuilt in a traditional way, bringing back the traditional materials, craft and techniques that had been used for centuries.

 

Directly inspired by and referring to the practice of Christo (currently on view in an exhibition at Musée Yves Saint Laurent in Marrakech), they  created two works that, placed side by side, would pay tribute to this master while raising awareness on the dilapidation of historical urban spaces in Marrakech and beyond.  Amine El Gotaibi decided to reproduce Christo’s modus operandi and completely cover the facade of the three-story house with white fabric, transforming this construction in ruin made of bricks and concrete, into an immaculate geometric block that contrasts with the buildings and neighboring streets. By appropriating in an obvious way a process so attached to Christo, he wanted "to do what Christo did not do here" in his city. The act of temporarily wrapping the house would celebrate the reconstruction while raising public awareness of this return to the origins.

Kosmatopoulos responded to his physical intervention by placing in the space a work of text that creates a conversation between visual forms and written language. Following the same process of reappropriation of great masters, I borrowed the title of Samuel Beckett's famous play “Waiting for Godot" in the form of a large neon sign mounted on scaffolding where one can read in red capital letters “EN ATTENDANT CHRISTO” (”WAITING FOR CHRISTO" ). "Waiting for Godot" speaks of the passive and endless waiting for someone who, in the end, never comes. In this case, I wanted to use this direct reference to question our own wait-and-see attitude in front the dilapidation of this world heritage site and many others. Beyond just raising questions, this sentence came to directly call out to the viewers, asking them this implicit question: "while waiting for Christo ... what are WE doing to change things.”