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Christo, the artist of the impossible

The 5 most iconic works by the artist who " wrapped the world"

Christo, the artist of the impossible The 5 most iconic works by the artist who  wrapped the world

Christo, the artist famous for wrapping some of the world's greatest monuments, from the German Reichstag to Pont Neuf in Paris, died in New York at the age of 84 due to natural causes. The announcement came on May 31 directly from his social channels:

Christo lived his life to the fullest, not only dreaming up what seemed impossible but realizing it. Christo and Jeanne-Claude's artwork brought people together in shared experiences across the globe, and their work lives on in our hearts and memories. Christo and Jeanne-Claude have always made clear that their artworks in progress be continued after their deaths.  Per Christo’s wishes, "L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped" in Paris, France, is still on track for September 18 – October 3, 2021.

Born in Gabrovo, Bulgaria, on June 13, 1935, the son of an businessman and a secretary of the Sofia Academy of Fine Arts, Christo Vladimirov Javacheff, better known as Christo, soon went on a pilgrimage around the world.  In his early twenties he left his country and moved first to Prague, then to Vienna, and finally to Paris, escaping the communist bloc countries. In the Ville Lumiere he survived by making portraits and abstract paintings. At the same time, he began to create the art that made him famous and which, together with Arman and Yves Klein, turned him into one of the main members of the Nouveau Réalisme, an artistic movement interested in materials taken from reality, even the most banal: wrapping various types of objects such as cans, bottles, chairs, machines.

In 1958 he made the encounter that changed his life: he met his wife and partner in crime Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon. Born on the same day, the two are symbiotic, true soul mates who, together, have created some of the most spectacular visual works of the 20th and 21st centuries. Their first collaboration was in the port of Cologne, but they became known for Rideau de Fer, a wall of oil barrels blocking rue Visconti, near the Seine in Paris, an installation-protests against the Berlin Wall. In the 60s they were already among the main protagonists of the Land Art. From there, they continued to shape with their unmistakable, temporary, ephemeral, yet powerful and grandiose style. Critics loved them and highlighted how their works transcended the traditional limits of painting, sculpture and architecture. Christo and Jeanne-Claude simply said that the real goal was to realize the visions they had in mind, changing the image of the world, even for the duration of an installation. Free, without financing or contractors, the two, in more than fifty years of a common career (until Jeanne-Claude's death in 2009) produced incredible projects such as the white nylon ribbon that crossed California for 40 kilometres in 1976 or Umbrellas, thousands of umbrellas that invaded California and Japan; but, above all, they wrapped and packed the world: from Porta Pinciana in Rome to the Reichstag in Berlin, from the equestrian statue of Vittorio Emanuele II in Piazza Duomo in Milan to the cliffs of Little Bay in Australia.


Christo's works are unforgettable, here are 5 that you absolutely must know.

Wrapped Reichstag, Berlino, 1971-1995

The wrapping of the Reichstag in Berlin, in June 1995, is perhaps the most famous work created by the Bulgarian artist. The German parliament was wrapped with 100,000 square meters of silver fabric. It took Christo over twenty years to obtain permission for this work, which attracted five million visitors.


Surrounded Islands, Biscayne Bay, Florida, 1980-83

In the early 1980s the islands of Biscayne Bay, in Florida, were surrounded by a fuchsia polypropylene cloth.

The Gates, Central Park, New York City, 2005

A 30-kilometre walkway through Central Park, New York, open to the public from 12 to 27 February 2005 and made up of 7,503 arcades, about five metres high and arranged four metres apart. With orange fabric sheets fixed to each of them. 

The London Mastaba, Hyde Park, Londra, 2016-2018

Inspired by the Mastaba, a monumental funerary building of ancient Egypt, the work recalls exactly this pyramidal shape: 20 metres high, it is made with more than 7500 empty oil barrels, stacked one on top of the other and resting on a floating polyethylene platform that supports its more than 600 tons of weight. 

Floating Piers, Lago d’Iseo, 2014-2016

A very long yellow walkway over the Lombard lake that gives the feeling of walking on water. The Floating Pears was visited by 1.3 million people in just three weeks.