Christo and Jeanne-Claude

Among the great protagonists of this splendid artistic season called Nouveau Realisme, genially followed by Pierre Restany, Christo has distinguished himself for the personal path he has chosen which, while remaining within the poetic environment of the group, he has succeeded in making quite unique, incorporating the fruits of Land Art with a special attention to places and their particular features that leads up to and combines with that no-global ecological vein that is so present and alive in society today. Christo could have continued his already surprising career by persisting in “wrapping up” objects and things, making money like many of his fellow-artists, but his intellectual curiosity and, in part, his happy working relationship with his partner Jeanne-Claude, diverted his interest towards large installations and great artistic performances, creating events that have surprised and bewitched millions of people. The upsetting of the places that they choose for their extraordinary installations goes step by step with their ability to respect and even enhance those same places which, when the event is over, are returned whole, improved and often cleaner than before. The work chosen for OPEN is a historic package which, in keeping with tradition, does not reveal its contents but conceals them from our eyes. The sense of mystery and curiosity that it provokes, and the lack of clues concerning its contents known only to the artist, is the most intriguing part of its role as a work of art. This non-revelation encloses the message of the intellectual content, leaving the spectator free to make all possible conjectures. Christo’s work, in its development from the early days to the present, is extremely contemporary and highly modern, thanks to its connotations which pass through all the basic sources of modern thought, from mass communication to ecology, from glamour to the environment, from the use of photography and the plotter to that of drawing and painting, as well as the use of the most modern technologies and materials necessary for realising his surprising happenings. Christo’s work and, today the work of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, thanks to these components, is thus perhaps the work most surprisingly close to the contemporary world, defining an artistic path among the most significant of our times.

Vincenzo Sanfo