christo – wrapped trees – photos © peter gartmann
christo – wrapped trees – photos by peter gartmann 1998 – christo and jeanne-claude – wrapped trees – fondation beyeler – susanne minder collection – copyright photos © peter gartmann + sabina roth
christo – wrapped trees – photos by peter gartmann
copyright photos © peter gartmann + sabina roth
Christo – magician of contemporary art
Christo and Jeanne-Claude are among the greatest magicians in contemporary art – they have made millions of people see the world anew and through the eyes of artists.
A look back at their many transformation projects.
Wrapped Trees – strange mystical sculptural landscape
Ernst Beyeler – Fondation Beyeler, Riehen – Switzerland
After 32 years of preliminary work, Christo and Jeanne-Claude wrapped 178 trees between November 13 and December 14, 1998 in Riehen in the „Berower Park“ near the Fondation Beyeler. The covering material used was 55,000 square meters of shimmering silver-grey polyester fabric.
Beauty without a message – tree sculptures, as grown, so wrapped, some up to 25 meters high. The bare branches, the defoliated twigs stretch the polyester fabric from the inside into an irregular pattern of smooth surfaces – each tree a cocoon, silver-grey, shimmering transparently against the light. Wrapped Trees – an installation of a strangely mystical sculptural landscape.
„Realistically wrapped sculptures that are probably standing on the earth, but are completely dematerialized.“
Christo – magician of contemporary art
Christo and Jeanne-Claude succeeded in breaking through the narrow confines of the art world and attracting a broad public to their spectacular large-scale projects. They are among the greatest magicians in the history of contemporary art – they have made millions of people see the world anew through the eyes of artists.
Christo has dedicated his life to poetizing the world. Wrapping a principle that works equally well for clothing and gifts: by removing something from view, you charge it with mystery and meaning.
After wrapping everyday objects in foil and wrapping them in string – from stacks of magazines to VW Beetles – Christo and Jeanne-Claude increasingly devoted themselves to artistic transformations of entire landscapes or architectures.
From 1962 to 2019, 23 projects were realized on different continents. After the death of his wife in 2009, Christo continued the projects planned with her. On May 31, 2020, Christo died shortly before his 85th birthday.
All of their projects are made possible exclusively through the sale of preliminary studies, drawings, collages, original lithographs and editions. Christo and Jeanne-Claude did not accept any funding, public or private.
The art of Christo and Jeanne-Claude is an art without any claim to permanence. Rather, it lives from brevity and the appeal of unrepeatability.
„Beauty, science and art will always triumph.“ – Christo
As early as 1920, the surrealist, painter, photographer and object artist Man Ray wrapped and tied up a sewing machine and called the artwork „The Enigma of Isidore Ducasse“. The wrapped object did not remain an isolated case in Man Ray’s work, he dealt – again and again with the theme of packaging, wrapping and hidden.
In Paris in the 1960s, Christo experimented along these lines; wrapping and tying up objects in paper or fabric to give them a new, mysterious dimension. Of greater importance to the artist than the content was the tactile structure of the artworks. Christo also impregnated the various fabrics with colorless varnish, giving them a permanent form.
He created his first urban installation in 1962 in response to the construction of the Berlin Wall the year before. He blocked the very narrow Rue Visconti in Paris with more than 90 empty oil drums, which he piled up to form an „Iron Wall.“
For Christo personally, the most important of his major projects was the 1985 wrapping of Paris‘ oldest bridge, Pont Neuf. In doing so, he wanted to turn the structure, which was built at the end of the 16th century and had served as a „model“ for paintings by famous painters countless times over the centuries, into a work of art itself.
„As an artist, I don’t justify myself. Everything I create as an artist is meaningless and useless. I create things that have no function in the strict sense, except perhaps to give pleasure.“ – Christo
living landscapes around the world
„Veiling in order to reveal,“ is how the action artist described his art. Since the sixties, Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude have created living landscapes all over the world.
No one was left untouched by their art actions, which were staged like happenings: Thousands of colorful parasols „The Umbrellas“ in Japan and California, pink islands „Surrounded Islands“ in Miami, „Wrapped Trees“ or orange gates „The Gates“ in the middle of New York.
„The work of art is a scream of freedom.“ – Christo
One of the characteristics of Christo’s art was its transience. You could not conserve it, only take it inside. Christo considers art as poetry – a work of art should not follow a specific purpose or propaganda. In the throwaway society of our time, Christo takes the opposite approach and draws attention to the value of the content by simply covering it up.
He is also concerned with the uniqueness of his works. By limiting their duration, he hopes that the works will be more likely to be remembered as something unique in the „age of repetition.“
„With the act of packaging, however, Christo not only alienates the objects from their natural living conditions and intended purpose, he actually becomes aware of them. Packing and tying up is a kind of grasping for possession. Packaging and concealing, then, is a primal human instinct, whose secularized, ‚denatured‘ form would be the packaging of goods.“
Willy Rotzler, art critic
The message from Christo’s office on his death ended with the words, „In 1958, Christo wrote in a letter: ‚Beauty, science and art will always triumph.‘ We hold on to those words today.“
Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon: 13.06.1935 – 18.11.2009
Christo Vladimirov Javachef: 13.06.1935 – 31.05.2020
see more art photography from the series – christo and jeanne-claude – wrapped trees – photos © peter gartmann – art + photography, switzerland – art picture collection susanne minder
see more photography from the series – wrapped trees – christo and jeanne-claude – fondation beyeler exhibition 1998 – art + photography, switzerland – art picture collection susanne minder
see as well photography from the series – the call of light – der ruf des lichts – by peter gartmann + sabina roth – art + photography, switzerland – art picture collection susanne minder
see as well art photography from the series – lost in the trees – verloren in den bäumen – by © sabina roth + peter gartmann – art + photography, switzerland – art picture collection susanne minder
also check out art photography from the series – the oak – book – sovereign among the trees – eiche – buch – königin aller bäume – by sabina roth – art + photography, switzerland – art picture collection susanne minder
furthermore look at art photography – basel by night – by peter gartmann + sabina roth – art + photography, switzerland – art picture collection susanne minder