June 13th was always a special day for the wrapping artist Christo: The Bulgarian-born, whose full name was Christo Wladimirow Jawaschew, would have celebrated his 85th birthday on this day.
And his wife and artist partner Jeanne-Claude, who died in 2009, was born on the exact same day and year as he was.
On Pentecost Sunday, however, Christo died in his adopted home New York.
On Twitter under the official address “Christo and Jeanne Claude”, not only the death of the artist was announced, but also the advice that the work should continue: “Christo and Jeanne-Claude have always made it clear that their ongoing art projects should be continued after her death: The Arc de Triomphe project for Paris is still planned for September 18 to October 3, 2021. “Here again the reference to Jeanne-Claude and her importance for Christo's work: Him and Jeanne-Claude Marie Denat , the daughter of a French soldier, who was born in Casablanca, had a close artist marriage beyond the same birthday. They created countless world-famous installations.
The love between the two began rather unusual.
Christo moved to Paris after studying art in Sofia and Vienna.
While “portrait painting”, which he disparagingly referred to as his form of “prostitution”, kept him afloat financially, he devoted himself to working with textiles and his ideas for wrapping in his free time.
In 1958 Christo packed his first paint can, which he surrounded with resin-soaked canvas, tied up and treated with glue, varnish, sand and car paint.
In the same year Christo received a commission for a portrait of Precilda de Guillebon, the mother of Jeanne-Claude.
Jeanne-Claude and Christo became friends, initially platonic.
After some confusion, the two married in 1962 against their parents' wishes.
In the following years the artist couple had to fight for a living.
From the beginning, the two financed their expensive projects by selling preliminary drawings, project sketches and objects.
They refused sponsorship money.
In 1964 they moved to New York.
There they developed the first major wrapping projects.
The two emphasized again and again that behind each work there was an artistic unity.
Together they covered buildings, islands, trees and more around the world - always temporarily.
All materials were always recycled afterwards.
Right from the start, Christo and Jeanne-Claude realized major projects in Germany. In 1961 they wrapped oil barrels in Cologne harbor. Three years later, they designed the “5,600 Cubicmeter Package” for the 1968 Documenta in Kassel, an 82-meter-long package filled with 6,000 kilograms of air and tied up - according to their statements, the largest inflatable sculpture without a skeleton or bracket. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the completion of Cologne Cathedral in 1980, Christo made a drawing of what the veiled cathedral might look like.
Probably the most important work in Germany was the wrapping of the Reichstag.
The preliminary negotiations dragged on for two decades until 1995.
With the help of 90 professional climbers and 120 employees, they wrapped the Berlin landmark in around 100,000 square meters of thick-woven plastic and wrapped the whole thing with around fifteen kilometers of rope.
A magnet for visitors for two weeks.
Christo continued the joint work until the end.
In 2016, he caused a sensation on Lake Iseo in northern Italy with a three-kilometer-long, floating and accessible fabric bridge.
The "floating piers" made of 70,000 square meters of yellow fabric were supported by 200,000 floating plastic blocks.
In 2017 Christo canceled his major project "Over The River" because of the new American government.
“We couldn't allow our new landlord, the Trump administration, to benefit from the project,” Christo said at the time.
He wanted to span the Arkansas River in Colorado for a stretch of sixty kilometers in several sections with a total of eleven kilometers of silvery fabric.
Also in 2017, Christo donated a work of art to the Pope and collected a good 200,000 euros for a children's hospital in the Central African Republic.
The media wrote at the time that the action artist originally wanted to cover the Vatican Museums.
Since this was not possible, he instead packed a DVD set via the Vatican Museums and sold it for a good cause.Keywords: