Christo Vladimirov Javacheff was born on June 13, 1935, the same day as his late wife, Jeanne-Claude. Together, Christo and Jeanne-Claude created works of environmentalist art on an impressive scale. Notable works include the wrapping of the Reichstag in Berlin and the Pont-Neuf bridge in Paris, as well as the 23 miles-long instillation of The Gates in New York City’s Central Park. Christo attended the Fine Arts Academy in Sofia, Bulgaria. When the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 occurred, Christo fled to Vienna, stayed in Switzerland, and moved to Paris. He met Jeanne-Claude there, as he painted a portrait of her mother.
Christo is known for his visually impressive, expansive, and temporary works. Once presented, his work is displayed, and then removed. It survives only in its documentation (photos by Wolfgang Voltz) and Christo’s sketches. Christo’s work is self-funded by the sale of sketches and work to fund the subsequent piece. He refers to this planning stage as the “software” period. Although Christo has said that it’s impossible to articulate what the work means for him and Jeanne-Claude, audiences and critics alike often describe the joy that’s given to a place after he and Jeanne-Claude “create gentle disturbances for a few days.”
“I believe that the prime-time for every work of art exists in the time in which it was done. After that it’s continuous transformation.”