Christo: Bulgarian artist who wrapped famous monuments dies at 84

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Christo with his work The London Mastaba, built on the Serpentine in Hyde Park in 2018


Bulgarian-born artist Christo, best known for wrapping famous fabric and plastic buildings and monuments, died at his home in New York City at the age of 84.

He died of natural causes on Sunday, according to a statement on the artist’s official Facebook page.

Christo, who always worked with his wife Jeanne-Claude, covered the Reichstag in Berlin and the Pont-Neuf in Paris with reams of fabric.

His works of art “have brought people together” around the world, the statement said.

“Christo lived his life to the fullest, not only by imagining what seemed impossible, but by realizing it,” we read, adding that the couple’s art “lives in our hearts and our memories.”

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Christo during the presentation of his installation The Floating Piers in Sulzano, Italy, in 2016


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EPA

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Visitors walk along the floating quays, an installation made of 100,000 m² of yellow fabric


A 2016 installation called The Floating Piers consisted of 100,000 m² of bright yellow fabric floating on polyethylene cubes on Lake Iseo in Sulzano, Italy.

Shakespeare told us “everyone is a scene”, Christo showed us an art gallery around the world. The Bulgarian-born artist was not interested in the sterile white walls of the modern museum where objects exist outside of everyday life.

He wanted to transform everyday life into art, to make people look and rethink their surroundings. He did it through intervention – either by wrapping a building like the Reichstag in Berlin in blue material, or a section of the Australian coastline in a million square feet of fabric – in both cases, transforming cold and hard structures in sensual, fragile sculptures.

He worked in collaboration with his wife Jeanne-Claude, whom he met in Paris in 1958. They did their first major outdoor works three years later in Germany, covering barrels of oil stacked in the port of Cologne with material. Jeanne-Claude died in 2009, leaving Christo to continue on his own, which he did, with a plan to wrap L’Arc de Triomphe in Paris next year – a project that will likely continue.

In 2018, a work of art by Christo – his first major outdoor work to appear in the UK – was unveiled at the Serpentine in Hyde Park in London. The London Mastaba was a colorful trapezoid sculpture made of over 7,500 200-liter barrels stacked together, displayed on a floating platform.

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Christo with his Reichstag work wrapped in Berlin, Germany, in 1995


Born Christo Vladimirov Javacheff in Gabrovo, Bulgaria, in 1935, he spent time in Austria and Switzerland before settling in France, where he met Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon in Paris.

In addition to transforming large-scale monuments, the couple also created monumental environmental art works together in natural settings, before the death of 74-year-old Jeanne-Claude in 2009.

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Christo’s works were produced with his wife Jeanne-Claude, seen here in 1997


An unfinished project in Paris called L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped should be completed and exhibited in September 2021, in accordance with Christo’s wishes.

“We are borrowing space and creating slight disturbances for a few days,” said Christo.

Sunday’s statement concluded: “In a 1958 letter, Christo wrote:” Beauty, science and art will always triumph. ” We are keeping these words close today. “

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