Cristo Vladimiroff Javaneff, commonly referred to as Christo was born in Bulgaria in 1935. Following his studies at the Beaux Arts of Sofia he left for Vienna after disagreeing with the communist régime before eventually moving to Paris in 1958. Interested in found materials and consumerism, he frequented the New Realism group. He married Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon and they moved to New York in 1964 with project ideas that would involve wrapping monuments, parks and places as ephemeral pieces. To Christo, « the urgence to be seen is all the greater that tomorrow everything will have disappeared…No one can buy these works, no one can own them, no one can commercialize them, no one can sell tickets to see them…Our work speaks of liberty. »

Every work could therefore take years of preparation. The verbal interaction with the public was part of the process and Christo was talented at communication and promotion. As Marina Vaizey explained « his method is inseparable from his art. » The surroundings of the Biscayne islands in Miami with pink polypropylene in 1983, the wrapping of the Pont-Neuf in Paris with yellow polyester in 1985, the silver fabric around the Reichstag in Berlin in 1995, and the installations of floating platforms linking the islands of the Iseo lake in 2016 are all notable works of the couple. In 1962 a pitch to wrap the Arc de Triomphe had been rejected but in April 2019 the city hall of Paris announced the project was accepted. It was pushed back to September 2021 because of covid. Christo died the 31st of May 2020.

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Photo Credit : © Wolfgang Volz