Christo & Jeanne-Claude:
Christo Javacheff: b. 1935, Gabravo (Bulgaria);
Jeanne-Claude de Guillebon: 1935, Casablanca – 2009, New York
The naturalized American couple of Bulgarian and French origin began living together in Paris in 1958, before moving to New York in 1964. Christo first became known in 1958 for his indoor installations with wrapped packages, cans and other objects. From 1961 onwards, he and his wife undertook outdoor projects on a monumental scale, wrapping entire landscapes and buildings. The idea behind these packaging projects of limited duration was to make viewers more conscious of the objects’ structure and inherent value. In 1969 the artists sparked controversy by sheathing 380,000 square metres of a cliff-lined bay on the Australian coast in synthetic fabric. Projects on a similar scale were Surrounded Islands in 1983, the wrapping of the Pont Neuf in Paris in 1985 and of the Reichstag in Berlin in 1995. In 1999 the couple produced an installation inside a gasometer in Oberhausen; titled The Wall, the structure measured 68 metres in length and 26 metres in height, and was made of variously coloured oil barrels. In 2005 they created a project called The Gates, consisting of 7500 vinyl gates draped in saffron-coloured fabric mounted along the paths of New York’s Central Park.