Farewell to Christo, master of Land Art

The celebrated artist Christo Vladimirov Javacheff, known simply as Christo, by natural causes, passed away at his home in New York at the age of 84 this week. The announcement was on the Facebook page dedicated to the artist and his wife.

Christo lived his life to the fullest, not only dreaming up what seemed impossible but realizing it. Jeanne-Claude and Christo ‘s artwork brought people together in shared experiences across the globe, and their work lives on in our hearts and memories.

Christo, artist of the impossible

The artist’s most essential and original works include the Floating Piers on Lake Iseo in 2016. The Pont Neuf in Paris in 1985 and the Reichstag in Berlin in 1985 are among his prominent works too. Christo has always been a particular artist. He financed himself by selling designs and projects, to have that independence that allowed him to work freely.

The artist's most essential and original works include the Floating Piers on Lake Iseo in 2016.
The Floating Piers Photo: Wolfgang Volz © 1983 Christo

Each of his works is an apparition, a push to connect with the surroundings. Not to emphasize the temporary, but to ignite a different way in the memory to read things.

He was of American nationality but was born in Bulgaria. Christo was also the name of an extended art project started a few decades earlier with his wife Jeanne-Claude. Christo and Jeanne-Claude were an artist couple born on the same day, June 13, 1935. She had died in 2009, but Christo had continued their artistic project.

Land art: The Floating Piers and the partnership with Jeanne-Claude

Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon was instead of Moroccan origin. She and Christo had met in Paris in 1958. Six years later after getting married they decided to move to New York. They become the leading exponents of “land art“. This art form focuses on the artist’s intervention on the natural territory, especially in large spaces such as deserts, prairies, or lakes. From the sixties onwards, Christo and Jeanne-Claude had created bizarre and very flashy installations.

Land art: The Floating Piers and the partnership with Jeanne-Claude
Wrapped Reichstag Photo: Wolfgang Volz © 1995 Christo

Christo was born in Gabrovo, Bulgari. He was the son of an entrepreneur and a secretary of the Academy of Fine Arts in Sofia. Here, Christo studied since 1953. Three years later, he moved to Prague, the Czech Republic, and from there, he had managed to go to Austria, thus escaping from the countries of the communist bloc. 

Farewell to Christo, master of Land Art
Surrounded Islands Photo: Wolfgang Volz © 2016 Christo

He spent a few months in Vienna and then went to Geneva and Paris, where he started earning some money by selling abstract portraits and paintings. However, he made himself known above all for his first small “wrapping” of living objects or models, and together with the French artists Arman and Yves Klein he became one of the leading exponents of the Nouveau Réalisme. 

They soon became the activity that would make him famous, with an impact that gave him extraordinary popularity even outside the world of art lovers and curious.

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