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The 10 best books on architecture that are always worth coming back to. NArchitekTURA recommends

22 of May '20

3. "Christo and Jeanne Claude".

Authors: Christo and Jeanne Claude, Wolfgang Volz, Paul Goldberger
Publisher: Taschen
Cologne 2019

Christo i Jeanne
Claude, Wolfgang Volz, Paul Goldberger „Christo and Jeanne Claude”

The first version of this book was released in 2010 as an autographed collector's edition, and despite its hefty price tag, it sold out in no time. After almost a decade, Taschen Publishing House has decided to release an updated version of this unique monograph. Designed by Christo, the more than six hundred-page publication is an artistic journey around the world in the footsteps of unique projects and realizations.

It is partly an insightful biography, but also a comprehensively compiled analytical and research document that allows for an in-depth understanding of the background of Christo's work and that of his wife Jeanne Claude (often wrongly overlooked in descriptions of the authorship of their joint works). Christo and Jeanne-Claude have elevated the themes of "wrapping" and "covering" to art on an unprecedented scale. Bulgarian-born Christo Vladimirov Javacheff and Frenchwoman Jeanne Claude Denat de Guillebon met in Paris in 1958, when the young artist was making a portrait of the mother of his future bride. A little later they began working together on a series of "Packages and Wrapped Objects" and in 1961 they began an activity of wrapping buildings and landscape elements in a variety of materials. Much of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's work was based on the use of various types of colored fabrics to achieve a uniform, monumental effect. The artists have already "wrapped", among other things. Little Bay in Sydney (the 1969 "Wrapped Coast" project, using 95,600 sq. m. of fabric), Rifle Gap in the mountains of the state of Colorado (the 1972 "Valley Curtain" project, in the form of a curtain more than four hundred meters long), the space between Sonoma and Marin counties inCalifornia (the forty-kilometer installation "Running Fence" from 1976), eleven islands in Biscayne Bay near Miami (the project "Surrounded Islands" from 1983, involving the deployment of more than 600,000 m² of pink polypropylene on the water plane), the famous Pont Neuf bridge in Paris (1984) or the Reichstag in Berlin (1995). The spectacular work of the duo Christo and Jeanne-Claude is still controversial today, but it also allows for countless interpretations, especially in the context of the contemporary cult of the so-called "good look," focused on externality, superficiality and temporariness.

The Taschen monograph covers the duo's entire oeuvre, from their earliest works (still created separately) to their most recent and planned projects, such as the giant Mastaba in Abu Dhabi. In addition to extensive photo documentation by Wolfgang Volz (the only official photographer of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's works) and an updated introduction by Paul Goldberger, the book includes an interesting interview between the author and the artists. This was the last conversation about their work before Jeanne-Claude's death in 2009. The result is an eloquent tribute to the artist and a celebration of the outstanding duo's work, which undoubtedly influenced the expansion of the boundaries and definitions of art. The release of this updated monograph was intended as a prelude to the realization of one of Christo and Jeanne Claude's most important projects - "L'Arc de Triomphe Wrapped" - or the temporary wrapping of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. This vision was conceived in 1962 and was to be realized after almost six decades in April 2020, but due to the pandemic the execution and inauguration of this monumental work of art was postponed until the fall of 2021.


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