Javacheff Christo (1935 – )
Also known as “Christo”, Christo Javacheff was born in Gabrovo, a small industrial town in northern Bulgaria. The mother was a secretary of the Academy of Fine Arts in Sofia that Christo attend from 1953 to 1956, studying painting, sculpture, architecture and graphic. The repressive communist regime, forced him to move, first to Prague, then to Vienna and Geneva. In 1958, he finally arrivedin Paris. Here his life was characterized by financial and social inclusion difficulties: he earn a living realizing portraits, activity that he compared to prostitution. In Paris, he had the opportunity to study Mirò, Pollock, Tinguely and Dubuffet works. Like many artists of his generation, however, Christo will rebel to the dominance of abstraction, replacing it with a physical art and composed of real objects. Always in 1958, he made his first packaged object, a can of tin. From that moment, Christo begin to pack up everything: bottles, chairs, cars, motorcycles, wheelbarrows, magazines, prints, trees. Any everyday object is wrapped in cloth and tightly tied with ropes, strings, in growing size. In 1961 he made his first monumental and temporary work (the grandeur and the limited time will be characteristic of all his later production), blocking with 240 colored barrels of oil a Paris street, as a provocative answer to the recent erection of the Berlin Wall. The French capital was also the meeting place with Jeanne-Claude, his future wife and art-partner, which will last until her death, in 2009. Since 1961, Christo and Jeanne Claude moved to New York where they began together ambitious projects, that self-financed with the sale of packed small objects and preliminary drawings of the projects themselves. In over forty years of artistic career Christo and Jeanne Claude have occulted with fabrics a Colorado valley, surrounded an entire island, installed 1,340 umbrellas in a Japan park, packed bridges and buildings (including the Reichstag in Berlin), Roman walls, trees (like the Beyeler Foundation park in Basel) and even an entire section of the Australian coast. Projects that affirmed them as real celebrities on the international art scene.