Art I LOVE – Christo and Jeanne Claude – It’s a wrap!

A million feet of wrapped coast at Little bay, Australia 1968 -69″]

I used to quite enjoy wrapping presents, and I still do – if it’s the odd one, you can really put lots of effort in.  When it’s lots though……… it’s a chore as far as I’m concerned.

The late Jeanne Claude with husband Christo (photo by Bryan O Brien)

Married couple Christo (Christo Vladimirov Javacheff b. 1935 Bulgaria) and Jeanne-Claude (born Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon, b. 1935 – November 18, 2009) collectively known as Christo, wrap the environment.  Their shared aesthetic is to present familiar landscapes in an unfamiliar way – leading to new ways of seeing.

Documenta 4 the largest ever inflated structure without a skeleton

As with the sand sculptures – these monumental works are not meant to last.  The only memorial to them are collages , photographs and drawings.  In Documenta 4 (1967 – 68 Kassel Germany) the couple created a 500 cubimeter air package that weighed 200 tons.  After 3 unsuccessful attempts and with the aid of huge cranes and wires, they managed to get it air bourne.  The artist’s paid for this project themselves from the proceeds of their own works of art which they sold. The artists have never recieved and will never accept  sponsorship of any kind.  They insist on this, saying that it keeps their art pure.

wrapped trees christo

Christo and Jeanne Claude have completed 20 projects, 39 proposals have been turned down.  Some of these projects have taken many years.  The Wrapped trees took 32 years for permission but were finally wrapped in the Fondation Beyeler and Berower Park, Riehen, Switzerland 1997-98.  These are amazing!  Trees as you have never seen them before!

wrapped trees christo in a winter wonderland

I especially like the trees when they are covered with snow.  They look like cauliflower florets! 

A huge struggle for the artists was getting permission to wrap the very famous Reichstag building, Berlin.  They battled throughout nearly 3 decades to achieve this.  Finally, it happened on the 24th June 1995 and the building was wrapped for the duration of 14 days.  The fabric, a shiny silver material was used to wrap, pleat and drape – almost like a second skin.

wrapped Reistag building 1995

Another famous work was the wrapping of the Pont Neuf, Paris. This was wrapped in 1985 and took 300 workers and used 40,876 square meters of polyamide fabric which even covered the street lamps on either side of the bridge.  Pedestrians actually walked upon this fabric.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude The wrapped Pont Neuf Paris 1985another view of the Pont Neuf

The artists have wrapped land, buildings and even plan to wrap the Arkansas river, Colorado!  This will be amazing if this comes off. 

Fantastic website of all their works here

More about their lives and works here

My latest poem Haiku: ‘Three for March


8 thoughts on “Art I LOVE – Christo and Jeanne Claude – It’s a wrap!

  1. Sadly Jeanne Claude died last year. There’s still projects in the pipeline, but I don’t know if they will go ahead. Thanks for visitng Leslie and glad you enjoyed these artists!

  2. There is an excellent book on their lives;
    Christo and Jeanne-Claude: An Authorized Biography by Burt Chernow and Wolfgang Volz
    There is also a wonderful DVD set that chronicles many of they’re projects;
    5 Films About Christo and Jeanne-Claude – A Maysles Films Production by Albert Maysles and Christo & Jeanne Claude

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