Christo & Jeanne-Claude

Biography of Christo & Jeanne-Claude

Christo Vladimirov Javacheff and Jeanne-Claude were a married couple renowned for their large-scale environmental works of art that disturb the landscape. They were both born on the same day in 1935 but countries apart; Christo in Bulgaria, and Jeanne-Claude in Morocco. Jeanne-Claude died in 2009 but Christo has continued their practice, creating sculptures that they planned together and working under both of their names.

 

The pair met in Paris after Jeanne-Claude’s mother hired Christo to paint her portrait. They fell in love and started to create works together in the 1960s. Until 1994 they worked solely under Christo’s name, aware of the problems and marginalization that female artists faced during this time. Christo was and still is, responsible for creating the preparatory prints and drawings for each installation. He often does so using a collaged style. Due to the ephemeral nature of their works, these prints and the photographs taken by their designated photographer Wolfgang Volz are the only evidence that remains from any of their works.

 

Christo & Jeanne-Claude are most iconic for their wrapping projects. In these works they cover their subjects, which range from cars to newspapers, and even people in silken-fabrics, reducing them all to a singular aesthetic form. Their most famous wrapping project is their wrapping of the Reichstag building in Berlin. After a bureaucratic struggle that lasted nearly two decades, they were finally granted permission for this work in 1995 and their installation remained in place for two weeks.

 

Christo & Jeanne-Claude claim that none of their work has any meaning beyond the aesthetic and that attempts to try and apply any social or political analysis are futile. Christo & Jeanne-Claude’s artistic mission is based on creating monumental, transitory, beautiful, and absurd objects that provide an alternative way of looking at familiar landscapes. Their projects include the Wrapped Pont Neuf in Paris, 1985 and The Gates in New York's Central Park. Their work was also shown at documenta 4 in 1968.

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