Entertainment Arts It’s a wrap: Renowned ephemeral artist Christo dies, aged 84

It’s a wrap: Renowned ephemeral artist Christo dies, aged 84

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Christo, known for massive, ephemeral public arts projects has died at his home in New York. He was 84.

His death on Sunday was announced on Twitter and the artist’s web page. No cause was given.

Along with late wife Jeanne-Claude, the artists’ careers were defined by their ambitious art projects that quickly disappeared soon after they were erected, often involving the wrapping of large structures in fabric.

In 2005, he installed more than 7500 vinyl gates in New York’s Central Park. He wrapped the Reichstag in Berlin in fabric with an aluminium sheen in 1995.

Their $US26 million ($39 million) Umbrellas project erected 1340 blue umbrellas installed in Japan and 1760 blue umbrellas in Southern California in 1991.

They also wrapped the Pont Neuf in Paris, the Kunsthalle in Bern, Switzerland and a Roman wall in Italy.

The statement said the artist’s next project, L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, is slated to appear in September in Paris as planned.

An exhibition about Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s work is also scheduled to run from July through October at the Centre Georges Pompidou.

“Christo lived his life to the fullest, not only dreaming up what seemed impossible but realising it,” his office said in a statement.

“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.”

Born in Bulgaria in 1935, Christo Vladimirov Javacheff studied at the Fine Arts Academy in Sofia before moving to Prague in 1957, then Vienna, then Geneva.

It was in Paris in 1958 where he met Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon.

They were born on the same day (June 13) in the same year (1935), and, according to him, “In the same moment” and would become partners in life and art.

Although their large-scale outdoor and indoor projects were collaborative, they were all credited solely to Christo until 1994, when they revealed Jeanne-Claude’s contributions.

The decision, they said, was theirs and deliberate since it was difficult enough for even one artist to make a name for himself.

In 1969 the pair created Wrapped Coast, which involved one million square feet of fabric and 56 kilometres of rope across a 2.4-kilometre section of the Australian coastline at Sydney’s Little Bay.

Jeanne-Claude died in 2009 at age 74 from complications of a brain aneurysm.

After her death, Christo said she was argumentative and very critical and always asking questions and he missed all of that very much.

In a 2018 interview with The Art Newspaper, Christo spoke about his signature wrapping aesthetic.

In the instance of the Reichstag, he said, covering it with fabric made the Victorian sculptures, ornament and decoration disappear and thus highlighted “the principal proportion of architecture”.

“But, like classical sculpture, all our wrapped projects are not solid buildings; they are moving with the wind, they are breathing,” he said.

“The fabric is very sensual and inviting; it’s like a skin.”