Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Larger-than-life artist Christo dies at age 84




Larger-than-life artist Christo dies at age 84

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The Bulgarian-born artist was known for his grand visions, including wrapping the German Reichstag in reams of cloth. AFP

Larger-than-life artist Christo dies at age 84

The artist known as Christo, who made his name transforming landmarks such as Germany’s Reichstag by covering them with reams of cloth, died on Sunday aged 84, his official Facebook page announced.

Christo Vladimirov Javacheff died of natural causes at his US home in New York City, said the statement.

The Bulgarian-born artist worked in collaboration with his wife of 51 years Jeanne-Claude until her death in 2009.

Their large-scale productions would take years of preparation and were costly to erect; but they were mostly ephemeral, coming down after just weeks or months.

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

“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.”

In accordance with Christo’s wishes, the statement added, a work in progress, l’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, would be completed.

The event is now scheduled to be shown from September 18, next year, having been postponed from this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Born on June 13, 1935 in Gabrovo, Bulgaria, Christo left his home country in 1957, living briefly in several countries before arriving in Paris, where he met his future wife, a fellow artist.

But in their subsequent collaborations, he was credited more as the artist and Jeanne-Claude as the organiser.

“This is not the work of Christo, it’s the work of Christo and Jeanne-Claude,” she would say.

To finance their massive, ambitious projects and thus maintain their artistic freedom, the couple would sell their preparatory work, including collages and drawings, at exorbitant prices.

An ‘enchanter’

Next year’s work in Paris will be accompanied by an exhibition at the city’s Pompidou Centre about their time in the city. That show is due to start next month, running until the end of October.

A statement sent to AFP by the Pompidou Centre on Sunday paid tribute to the artist as an “enchanter” who was “essential to the history of art of our time”.

“Christo was a great artist, capable of giving new depth to our everyday,” said the Pompidou Centre’s president Serge Lasvignes.

The centre’s director Bernard Blistene said they had worked “passionately” with Christo’s team to put the exhibition together in parallel with the Arc de Triomphe project.

“Let the exhibition that we will be opening on July 1 pay tribute to this exceptional body of work, bestriding all disciplines and so essential to the history of art of our time,” he added.

The exhibition will focus on the time Christo and his wife spent in Paris, 1958 to 1964, during which they developed their signature style.

As well as the German Reichstag, another of their major projects was wrapping the Pont Neuf, Paris’s oldest bridge, in 1985.

Sunday’s statement from Christo’s office concluded: “In a 1958 letter Christo wrote, ‘Beauty, science and art will always triumph’. We hold those words closely today.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen says Kingdom not a 'satellite country'

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said Cambodia had sent diplomatic notes to various embassies demonstrating its stance and clarifying allegations that the Kingdom is a satellite country of China which will allow it exclusive access to the Ream Naval Base in Preah Sihanouk province. The response

  • Vast Prince Manor fun park opens to much fanfare in Kandal

    Chinese-owned Prince Culture and Development Co Ltd officially launched the $85 million Prince Manor entertainment centre in Kandal province on Wednesday. Prince Manor is located along National Road 1, 20km from the centre of Phnom Penh. It is the first major theme park project in Cambodia and

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • Floods prompt evacuations in Kampong Speu

    Rain-induced floods and water flowing from Kampong Speu province have submerged the houses of 1,527 families living close to the Prek Thnot River in Spean Thma, Tien, Kong Noy and Roluos communes in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, according to data from local authorities. Spean Thma

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial