Artist Christo Vladimirov Javacheff
famously known as Christo was an environmental artist. Along with his wife Jeanne –Claude, he has created large scale sites, specific environmental installations that have become landmarks and landscape elements wrapped in fabric.
He was born in Bulgaria and Morocco respectively, the pair met and married in Paris in the late 1950s. Originally working under Christo’s name, they later credited their installations to both “Christo and Jeanne-Claude.” Until his own recent death, Christo continued to plan and execute projects after Jeanne-Claude’s death in 2009.
Some of the most notable projects include the Reichstag in Berlin, the Pont-Neuf in Paris, Running Fence in California and The Gates in New York City’s Central Park.
Their work was typically large, visually impressive and controversial, often taking years and sometimes decades of careful preparation – including technical solutions, political negotiation, permitting and environmental approval, hearings and public persuasion. The pair refused grants, scholarships, donations or public money, instead financing the work via the sale of their own artwork.
Christo and Jean Claude described the myriad elements that brought the projects to fruition as integral to the artwork itself, and said their projects contained no deeper meaning than their immediate aesthetic impact; their purpose being simply for joy, beauty, and new ways of seeing the familiar. In his most recent work, L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, Christo planned to wrap the Parisian monument in a silvery blue recyclable polypropylene fabric and red rope. The installation was originally scheduled to open to the public in September 2020, however, it was postponed until September 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He died at the age of 84 on May 31 at his home in New York.
( Images and text: With inputs from various online sources)