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Beautifully wrapped trees
In mid-November 1998, after the trees had shed their leaves, the celebrated artist couple Christo and Jeanne-Claude embarked on their impressive project Wrapped Trees in the grounds of the Fondation Beyeler. More than 170 trees in the gardens and the adjacent field were wrapped, using some 53,000 square yards of polyester fabric and 12 miles of rope.
The Art Edition Wrapped Trees III documents the planning phase of the project for the Fondation Beyeler and Beyeler Park in Riehen. Christo and Jeanne-Claude first became known after aligning themselves with the Nouveaux Réalistes, although they were never official members of the group. They made their breakthrough with projects that saw them wrapping buildings, industrial objects and famous works of architecture such as the Berlin Reichstag.
© Christo und Jeanne-Claude by Fondation Beyeler Editions
Art by Christo and Jeanne-Claude is unmistakeable, whether it entails wrapping up the German Reichstag or creating floating, pink fabric borders for Floridian islands. When these artists cover monuments with their fabric, they create entirely unique sights. “It’s not about hiding, it’s about emphasising”, Christo explains.
Although the installations are temporary, they do leave some lasting legacies: Sketches and collages of the projects, drafted ably by Christo, tell the story of these remarkable visions. The ideas at the heart of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s work reappear before our eyes.
The project “Wrapped Fountain”, planned for La Fontana de Jujol in Barcelona’s Plaza d'Espana, was conceived in 1979. The collage dates from the year 2009, but the project remains unrealised. Complete with labels and plans, the sketch provides an insight into both the fountain and the planned, wrapped artwork. Another project, also unrealised, is presented in the lithograph “Wrapped Building, Project for #1 Times Square”.
In an interview with the German magazine, Die Zeit, Christo described the theory behind the wrapping: “Our artwork mirrors reality, that’s why I am so fascinated by it. We are showing real life, but are not doing this in a museum or on a stage. Our projects are not theatrical performances.” The unique artistic ability and extraordinary impact of the duo’s work shines through, even in the sketches. The monumental structures appear bold yet delicate.
Jeanne-Claude and Christo met in Paris in 1958. In 1995, the pair wrapped Germany’s parliament building, the Berlin Reichstag, and the project drew over 5 million visitors, making it one of the most-visited pieces of contemporary art in the world.
|1935||Born in Gabrovo, Bulgaria|
|1953 - 1957||Studied Art in Sofia, Bulgaria and Paris, France|
|Lives and works in New York City, USA|
Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon
|1935||Born in Casablanca, Morocco|
|1952||Studied Latin and Philosophy at the University of Tunis, Tunisia|
Died in New York City, USA
Christo & Jeanne-Claude
|1961||First collaboration: “Stacked Oil Barrels and Dockside Packages”, Cologne Harbor, Germany|
|1968||“5,600 Cubicmeter Package”, documenta IV, Kassel, Germany|
|1983||“Surrounded Islands”, Biscayne Bay, Florida, USA|
|1985||“The Pont Neuf Wrapped”, Paris, France|
|1995||“Wrapped Reichstag”, Berlin, Germany|
|2014||Theodor Heuss Award from the Theodor Heuss Foundation, Stuttgart, Germany|
|2007||Outstanding Achievement in Public Art, Alliance of New York State Arts Organizations, USA|
|2005||Doris Freedman Award, New York City, USA|
|2004||Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award, International Sculpture Center, Hamilton, New Jersey, USA|
|2003||National Arts Award, New York City, USA|
|1996||Award for Distinction in Sculpture, Sculpture Center, New York City, USA|
|1987||Kaiserring – Goslar City Art Award, Germany|
Tate Britain, London, UK
Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia
Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany
Sprengel Museum, Hanover, Germany
Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Prints and Objects. Jörg Schellmann (Ed.) and Matthias Koddenberg, New York, 2013.
Christo and Jeanne Claude. Christo and Paul Goldberger, Cologne, 2010.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Remembering the Running Fence. Brian O’Doherty et al., Berkeley, 2010.
Christo und Jeanne Claude. Grenzverlegung der Utopie. Werner Spies, Berlin, 2010.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Wrapped Reichstag Berlin 1971 - 1995. Christo et al., Cologne, 1996.
Christo und Jeanne-Claude. Der Reichstag und Urbane Projekte. Jacob Baal-Teshuva (Ed.), Munich, 1995.