(b. 1935)

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(b Gabrovno, 13 June 1935).

Bulgarian-born sculptor and experimental artist who settled in New York in 1964 and became an American citizen in 1973. After brief periods in Prague, Vienna (where he studied sculpture with Wotruba), and Geneva, he moved to Paris, where he lived from 1958 to 1964. Initially he earned his living there as a portrait painter, but soon after his arrival he invented empaquetage (packaging), a form of expression he has made his own and for which he has become world-famous. It consists of wrapping objects in materials such as canvas or semi-transparent plastic and dubbing the result art. He began with small objects such as paint tins from his studio (in this he had been anticipated by Man Ray), but they increased in size through trees and motor cars to buildings and sections of landscape. He spends a great deal of time and effort negotiating permission to carry out such work and in planning the operations, which can involve teams of professional rock-climbers as well as construction workers. He finances such massive enterprises through the sale of his smaller works. The buildings that he has succeeded in wrapping include the Pont Neuf in Paris (1985, after nine years of negotiations), and the Reichstag in Berlin (1995). Among the landscape projects he has carried out is Running Fence (1976), something like a fabric equivalent of the Great Wall of China, undulating through 39 km (24 miles) of Sonoma and Marin Counties, California. Christo says of his work: ‘You can say it's about displacement. Basically even today I am a displaced person, and that is why I make art that does not last…Unlike steel, or stone, or wood, the fabric catches the physicality of the wind, the sun. They are refreshing. And then they are quickly gone.’ Christo's wife, Jeanne-Claude (née de Guillebon) (1935–2009), collaborated with him in his work.

Subjects: Art.

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