The title should’ve been: Let me introduce you to Christo and Jeanne Claude, the artist couple who succeed in one simple sentence to answer me about so many questions in the art world and in life itself.
It’s just too long for a simple title, but I’m gonna tell you why I think that.
Let’s start, stay with me 🙂
Christo and Jeanne Claude were born on the same day.
Christo was born on June 13, 1935, in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Jeanne Claude Denat de Guillebon was born on June 13, 1935, in Casablanca, Morocco (to a French family).
These two are considered environmental/land artists, they started working together in the 1960s.
By 1991, they had signed on for their joint work by the name “Christo”, and in 1994 they changed and began to sign their joint name “Christo and Jeanne Claude”.
This wonderful couple thing is that they wrap in vast expanses of familiar space, such as Australia’s 2.4-mile coastal strip, the gates they did in Central Park in New York, the Pont Neuf bridge in Paris, the Reichstag Building in Berlin, and more. Wonder how much fabric it requires, covers of this size.
So a little bit about them:
Christo studied art, sculpture and decor design in Bulgaria and then in Vienna, but he quit after only one semester.
And Jeanne-Claude studied Latin and university philosophy in Tunis.
The two were acquainted in Paris when Christo accepted the invitation to paint a portrait of Jeanne Claude’s mother.
After about six years, they moved to New York together.
Even when they were in Paris, they started small it was Christo alone, who began to wrap all sorts of little objects, bouquets, tables, chairs, cars and over time it grew stronger as he began to collaborate with Jean-Claude and came to cover all the buildings.
Their artwork cannot last beyond a few days, as the couple is engaged in environmental art, making the process of establishing, documenting and dismantling an important and inseparable part of the artwork itself.
Christo and Jeanne Claude have been etched in my memory. Even if I didn’t remember their name, I always remembered to look for the “Artists couple who wrap around big buildings”
Their drawings amaze me. Their change and temporary intervention in nature require them to have such detailed sketches of accuracy, design and execution perfectly, answers to any questions that may not come.
Another thing I liked about them is that they were not looking for reasons and explanations and meaning for their work, they refuse to comment.
After all, there is a saying here, their artwork changes the face of nature for a certain time. Whether it’s a building, or a bridge, or whatever they cover, it causes a fresh look at the familiar landscapes, a curiosity about what’s beyond. The fabrics themselves also, by their very nature, cause a game of light, shadow and volume. But all that Christo and Jeanne-Claude are putting aside. For them, they just do beautiful art and that’s it, or to be exact, Jeanne -Claude once commented on their work and said: “We wish to create works of art, works of joy and beauty, as with every true work of art, it has absolutely no purpose whatsoever: it is not a message, it is not a symbol, it is only a work of art. And like every true artist, we create those works of art for us and our collaborators.”
Christo added and say, although it was an interview this year, it’s the same truth that always drives them: “All our projects are totally irrational, totally useless. Nobody needs them. The world can live without them. They exist in their time, impossible to repeat, that is their power, because they cannot be bought, they cannot be possessed… They cannot be seen again.”
There is no more egoistic person than an artist.
I’ve heard this phrase once in a while, a phrase that I tend to think is true as far as finding out what I’m looking for, what kind of art I am, and that’s also what jumped to my head right now.
They managed to sort out all my thoughts, say my opinions and to assume my mind on the subject in two sentences so clear and simple.
This kind of work requires them to be more than just an artist and require them to take care of government approvals, business software, large-scale financing, things that would have taken years to accomplish. Really years, not as a form of expression.
The couple never received a private or public subsidy, they paid for everything, Christo found out how to make a profit so they could continue to the next project – they just sold their drawings, plans, and research. They make a fortune out of it. But again, as far as they were concerned, it was not the money, but the opportunity to move on to such other huge projects.
Indeed, in September 2020, an ambitious and amazing project is finally coming to fruition, which Christo thought and worked on together with Jeanne-Claude, far back in 1961, just three years after they met: the cover of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris!
This news excited me. There is far beyond artwork here.
You see, this is something he has dreamed of for 60 years, never thought it would happen, and here it is, in the end, it happens and big time.
The cover and presentation were to be held from March 18 to June 15 this year but were postponed to September 19 to October 4, due to birds, the American falcon, to be exact, nesting in the Arc de Triomphe in spring.
Unlike previous projects that took a long time, this idea took a total of one year to get all the necessary permits.
I do not know if it is necessary to specify again, but as it was until now, this project Christo will not receive any public money or funding but will be financed entirely by him, from sales of drawings and research, and the sale of other works from the 1950s and 1960s.
Jeanne -Claude died on November 18, 2009 in New York, NY.
Christo continues to make artworks, still signing their joint name “Christo and Jeanne Claude”.
In the end, all that great art and we left with just photography.
Isn’t it crazy, isn’t it awesome?
I’ll tell you what is it, it does make you wonder.
Why all this for, lots of cloth and money? What’s the matter?
Is it worth years of planning, research, certification?
What is left of all this? Image?
You know what, wait. Here’s what Christo answers for me and shut my mouth for good: “I am an artist, and I have to have courage … Do you know that I don’t have any artworks that exist? They all go away when they’re finished. Only the preparatory drawings, and collages are left, giving my works an almost legendary character.
I think it takes much greater courage to create things to be gone than to create things that will remain.”
Please leave a comment, I’m dying to hear what you guys think.
Christo and Jeanne Claude’s official website:
Christo and Jeanne Claude on Instagram:
If you guys are interesting I’ve taken some information from here:
The most memorable artworks are here: