By wrapping various objects with fabric and cord, Christo has transformed sometimes familiar objects into ambivalent presences, sometimes rendering them unrecognizable and always eliciting curiosity about the status of the object as concealed.
"Packaging can connote gifts, death, preservation, and eros, but it almost always implies value-that the object is worthy of such attention. But while packaging suggests worth, it also reduces everything to the level of object: the contained object is a physical thing before it is anything else. As a result, we are confronted by an isolated thing that, by virtue of its being wrapped, is given more value than it might merit in its unwrapped state. A gift-wrapped object is guaranteed to elicit curiosity, the promise of a surprise withheld. Concealment also implies preservation and, in some cases, suppression and censorship" (D. Bourdon, Christo, New York, 1972, p. 9).
The contents of this package, wrapped in fabric and twine, are not to be known. Not only are the contents concealed by opaque fabric, but the convoluted, knotty network of string discourage any impulse to attempt to unwrap the package. The general shape of the package is planar, and the wrapping of the package is taut at one edge, revealing a sharp square edge beneath. This provides a hint at what is contained within (a framed picture perhaps?) but surely the hints are not sufficient for any degree of conclusiveness. The Plexiglas box in which the package itself is contained simultaneously invites interest and resolutely denies physical access to the package. This final impenetrable barrier makes it impossible to investigate the package, by touching, lifting, or shaking it, to gain any clues as to what lies within. The effect of the artwork is stimulated inquisitiveness, frustrated curiosity, and jarred imagination.
Fig. 1 Man Ray, The Riddle of Isidore Ducasse, 1920