Christo wraps up the Pont-Neuf
American-Bulgarian artist Christo presents his project: wrapping up the Pont-Neuf with polyamide cloth for fifteen days.
Born in Gabrovo (Bulgarie) in 1935, Christo Javacheff, known as "Christo", was admitted to Sofia's Beaux-Arts school in 1952. Hardly docile with regards to the socialist realism doctrine that governed the artistic production of eastern European countries at that time, Christo fled Vienna and landed in Paris in 1958. He met his future wife and kept company with the group of new realists by creating works from raw materials (cartons, bottles, paper...). In 1962, he tried to erect a wall of oil barrels in Paris to express his anger at the construction of the Berlin wall.
His installation in the United States in 1964 inaugurated large-scale projects. In 1972, he finished his Valley Curtain: a 13000 square metre nylon curtain stretched between two plateaus in a Colorado valley, 350 metres wide. He specialised in "packaging": the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art (1969), the Scala in Milan (1970).
From 22 September until 7 October 1985, despite controversy and technical and legal difficulties, he covered Paris's oldest bridge, the Pont Neuf, with polyamide cloth. The operation was a genuine success and Christo renewed the attempt by taking over other symbolic locations, like Berlin's Reichstag in 1995. In 2005, he poetically revisited Central Park with The Gates, a path of porticos hung with saffron coloured cloth. Christo's work is directly related to the "short-lived art" movement, which incites the artist to also be a director who films his work to keep a trace of it and to restore it (like here with the Pont-Neuf workers).