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The Art of Christo (Javacheff) and Jeanne-Claude Until the End of the 1960s*

Angel V. Angelov


From Expression of Subjectivity to Objective Reality

During the 1950s, the western art scene was generally dominated by abstract painting whose Neo-Romantic aesthetics valued the spontaneous expression of the artist’s inner state: his or her individuality, uniqueness and dramatic singularity. Abstract Expressionism, in particular, stood for a heroic subjectivity whose expression was free from the constraints of form1. At the end of the fifties, however, attention visibly shifted away from the individual’s subjective experience and the ways of expressing the latter, and on to industrial objects and external reality. The focus moved from individual uniqueness to industrial artifacts.

This change was brought about by different artistic and intellectual groups. Here I will focus primarily on the Nouveaux Réalistes and the art of Christo (Javacheff) and Jeanne-Claude. The group of the Nouveaux Réalistes was founded in Paris on October 27, 1960 with the signing of a declaration. The founder and main propagator of Nouveau Réalisme was the art critic Pierre Restany, and the group included Arman, Кlein, Tinguely, Hains, Spoerri and, later, César, Rotella and other artists. While Christo’s art at the time was close to the ideas of the Nouveaux Réalistes, he did not sign the declaration. The attitude of the Nouveaux Réalistes towards him was, rather, aloof2.

In 1959, at the First Paris Biennale for young artists organized by Raymond Cogniat and featuring mostly abstract art, Jean Tinguely installed his kinetic sculpture Méta-Matic No. 17, a creaking and rumbling painting machine that produced an endless stream of abstract paintings, as if it were a group of action painters working simultaneously, thus noisily reproducing its "inner complexity"3. Ingenuity and a sense of humour are among the main distinctive features of Tinguely’s art.

Fig. 1. Jean Tinguely, Mйta-Matic, No. 17, 1959

Fig. 1. Jean Tinguely, Méta-Matic, No. 17, 1959

In a direction quite different from Tinguely’s, Yves Klein, too, turned his attention to the external world. In 1958 he mounted his exhibition "Le Vide" (The Void) at the Iris Clert Gallery in Paris, where instead of the expression of subjective states there was a void, an empty space as if packaged in the white-painted walls. Instead of self-expression, Klein offered liberation from the self. So many people wanted to get in and feel "the void" that the police had to regulate access to the gallery4. Several years later, in January 1962, Klein staged a happening of the same name at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris (Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris). The well-chosen word fired the imagination of viewers and, along with their behavior, characterized the change that had taken place in art and its perception - beyond expression and beyond the soul. In March 1960 Yves Klein produced his Anthropométries, imprints of nude female bodies covered in blue paint and rolled on paper stretched on canvas on the floor. The prints are on the boundary between the figurative and the abstract, but instead of a dramatic expression of experiences they are simply expressive prints of bodies5.

Fig. 2. Yves Klein, Anthropomйtrie de lґйpoque bleue (ANT 78), 1960

Fig. 2. Yves Klein, Anthropométrie de l´époque bleue (ANT 78), 1960


Fig. 2а. Yves Klein, Anthropomйtrie de lґйpoque bleue (ANT 82), 1960

Fig. 2а. Yves Klein, Anthropométrie de l´époque bleue (ANT 82), 1960

They were made before an audience while an orchestra played Klein’s Monotone Symphony consisting of a single tone that "echoed" in the monochrome Anthropométries. Both the imprints of the bodies and the performance of the symphony, directed by Klein, combined improvisation and premeditation.

More or less at the same time, 1958-1959, Christo Javacheff, who was painting portraits to support himself, made several still lifes: one of them consists of four wrapped and painted and fourteen plain oil barrels6; another of two wrapped cans and a bottle painted in red. While the effect of the plain barrels is intended to come from their "natural" texture and colour, the wrapped ones have different textures, the artist having only arranged them together to mark the presence and own expressive power of this industrial object, the oil barrel, so significant, almost a symbol of the contemporary world. We can judge about the significance the oil barrels have for Christo and Jean-Claude from the insistency they project installations whose material oil barrels are. In 1979 they projected the Mastaba for Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (in progress), representing a pyramid of oil barrels; with its beautiful monstrosity it would rather convincingly give a form to the "cult", created by the contemporary world around the liquid raw material, and to the measure in which we depend on it. This "cult" does not seem more rational than the ancient one, which resulted in building of pyramids for the pharaohs in Egypt. The second project "The Wall" is realized in 1999 in the gasometer in Oberhausen, Germany. The time from the first wrapped oil barrels to the immense realization in Oberhausen is more than forty years. For the individual human life forty years are so much that they could evoke the sense of duration and even timelessness, equal to that of pyramids.

Fig. 3. Christo, Wrapped Oil Barrels, 1958-59

Fig. 3. Christo, Wrapped Oil Barrels, 1958-59

The idea of the second still life from 1958-59 is similar to the first one, but it is oriented towards objects for private use7. Although the materials and intent are opposite to those in Abstract Expressionism, the technique of spontaneous and abstract painting used on the bottle is borrowed precisely from the latter.

Using industrial and household objects in artworks, the Nouveaux Réalistes gave physical form to a topical social problem (the exponential increase of objects and the need to thematize attitudes to them) and joined the definitive of the twentieth century tradition of transcending the two-dimensional space of easel painting - a tradition that may be defined as the "metamorphoses of the object."8 In this tradition, artists are no longer creators of worlds nor do they express their complex inner world; they are only in relation to the existing world, which is a world of objects. The world of objects is impenetrable, growing alarmingly, alienated (Arman’s and Christo’s wrapped objects), a world of waste9 and chance (D. Spoerri), deprived of form (César), grotesque (Tinguely’s sculptures)ò the production of objects is also a saturation of the existing world with garbage. Generally speaking, this is a world in which the familiar aesthetic idea of beauty cannot be found.

Some of the Nouveaux Réalistes liked stacking objects and wrapping them. Arman’s accumulations feature car horns, gas masks, broken violins, coloured tubes, compressed and densely wrapped in artificial material. In them there is no place for the humans who have manufactured these objects; the humans are "out of the shot." Arman’s accumulations create the impression that the objects will grow until they fill everything and the world turns into a storehouse or garbage dump. Arman’s wrapped objects can be viewed as an act of contemporary mummification of everything that is worth preserving for posterity. It is clear that they make a mockery of the idea that there are eternal and unchangeable values in art and in its history. With another intention but with the same idea of wrapping are Yves Klein’s visions of impregnating Earth with his patented International Klein Blue (IKB).

The variety of forms used by the Nouveaux Réalistes 'The variety of forms used by the Nouveaux Réalistes enabled them to take a different approach to the relationship between art and reality. The industrial and household objects, and especially the waste proclaimed as art, are designed to deflate the lofty and high-flown concept of art and to de-heroize the artist by de-subjectifying form and de-personalizing expression. The works of art themselves show opposite characteristics: de-materialization (Klein, Tinguely) versus accentuation of materiality (César, Christo, Arman). This approach to art was seen on the one hand as modernization of tradition and on the other as anti-art, because the Nouveaux Réalistes (along with other movements) initiated the tendency to overcome the autonomy of the work of art and eliminate its distinction from everyday life. In general, the desire to eliminate the differences between specialized fields and to change the place of art on the social map was one of the main utopias of the 1960s. A textbook example is the Fluxus movement, in which all arts were to fuse into one and become identical with life itself. The idea of proclaiming every act and behaviour as art and of applying aesthetic criteria to every social gesture was and remains utopian. Yet even so, this utopian idea yielded concrete results, changing the policy of museums towards contemporary art10.

It so happened in Europe that starting from the Enlightenment, museums consolidated in an institution that draws the boundary between recognized and unrecognized art, between that which will have social significance and aesthetic value and that which, being deprived of sociality, is also deprived of aesthetic value. Two places have been traditionally assigned to art on the social map: one is the museum (with private collections as a variant) and the other is private or public interiors. Both places preserve immutable, eternal, classical values, works by geniuses of first, second or third order, by rule works from the past. Thus, these places have imposed their authority on the concept of art and it is against this authority that the Nouveaux Réalistes rebelled. They constructed their works in a way that made them impossible to be displayed in museums or to serve as decoration of somebody’s interior. Along with other reasons, the resistance of 1960s art against the power and authority of museums drove the museum institution to change its principle of selection and to "open up" to contemporary art.

The Public

How does the public behave upon "encountering" in the exhibition hall a wrapped table, chair or simply a large package (Christo), Arman’s accumulations or César’s compressions? The legacy of Dadaism is manifested here structurally in the use of ready-made objects and intentionally in the wish to drive the public to a state of uncertainty and irritation. This state is caused by the structural unclarity in the definition of objects and of their belonging to the field of art. The public of art consists of the viewers, buyers, patrons, collectors. The public is the potential art market. One of the purposes is to make this market, public taste, question its own judgment of and behaviour towards "art," to ask itself indignantly "what’s that supposed to be" and to be at a loss as to how to behave.

Fig. 4. Christo, Package on Wheelbarrow, 1963

Fig. 4. Christo, Package on Wheelbarrow, 1963

The Nouveaux Réalistes used two techniques known from the time of early modernism: the formulated by OPOYAZ (Society for the Study of Poetic Language) estrangement or defamiliarization (ostranenie) of the everyday and the familiar, and the gesture of épatage or provocation, whose combination conveyed to viewers a sense of absurdity. How would the public react to this package on a wheelbarrow11, which would probably never move, or to the package on a shopping trolley, or to the portrait of B.B. wrapped in translucent material? Humans are packaged and turned into objects, objects are transformed into sculptures fixed in their immobility; we don’t know why they are here, we don’t even know what is inside the packages. While the portrait of B.B. may be an illusion of modern embalmment, it may just as well be a commodity wrapped in packaging which has happened to end up in the exhibition hall on the way from the market to the customer’s home. Viewers are free to make other guesses and even interpretations until they realize that the work is intended to make them feel stupid. As the face is half-veiled by the wrapping, the effect comes not from the face but from the form and texture of the wrapping. There is no secret, no content and substance; what is important is the wrapping.

The early works of Christo and of the whole group of the Nouveaux Réalistes have preserved, albeit in a more moderate form, the familiar gesture of épatage or provocation of the bourgeois public by articulating truths accessible only to the initiated, ultimate truths that are not appealable, and they have thus kept the old front-like, Dadaist-type opposition between the initiated and the profane, between the work of art and the public, between the creative act and the recipient. The possible range of negative reactions of the viewer - annoyance, irritation, indignation, rejection, denial, expressed in questions (such as, what are those ugly packages doing in the exhibition hall, why is that supposed to be art when it’s something I too can do - I can certainly wrap a telephone and bring it here, claiming that it’s art) - is reasonable because all that makes part of the intention of the artworks. If all viewers feel is that they are being made fun of, they will give in to the provocation and break off the nevertheless possible communication with the work. Provocation, typical of the avant-garde, divides the public into "us" and "them," drawing boundaries in society. The social gesture of the avant-garde is not integrative - on the contrary, it expects that a large part of the public will not accept the challenge, will fall victim to its own annoyance and classical attitude toward the art and, returning back to its bourgeois world, will confirm the rightness and identity of the avant-garde.

The public in the early 1960s, however, was no longer the bourgeois from the 1910s and 1920s who found the marginal figure of the artist scary and intimidating. In the 1960s there was a change both in modern art, in the attitude of institutions and of the public towards it. Now both sides showed more will to integrate the artist into society. Integration understood not as reconciliation and agreement but as an attempt to change the viewer’s senses and attitude, to change art institutions and the artist’s attitude towards them - or, in other words, the place of art on the social map had changed.

If viewers were to reflect on the provocation which, moreover, they had encountered voluntarily, they would understand that it was not a form either of aggression or of coercion against them. Unlike relationships in real life, viewers were not in danger of making fools of themselves if they reacted inadequately. The lack of threat and coercion distinguished the aesthetic from the practical sphere of life. The true challenge was in that the limits of adequacy of the viewer’s reactions were unknown. The artefacts of the Nouveaux Réalistes did not appeal to the viewer’s aesthetic experience but to its abandonment, to change in aesthetic attitudes. "Forget everything!" was one of their later mottoes in 1968. Viewers were not expected only to accept and understand a work of art (something which is difficult enough in itself) within the framework of an established, even if approximate, notion of art. Viewers were now expected to elaborate an entire convention within which to posit themselves and the work of art (for example, to think upon what makes them viewers, why is the displayed object not entirely real), to draw the boundary between everyday objects and artefacts despite the illusion that these artefacts were constantly referring viewers back to their utilitarian character. And viewers in the late 1950s and the beginning of the 1960s were expected to do all this without the support of institutions, such as tradition or museum collections of that type of contemporary art. The significant change that began in the 1960s is that the public was no longer offered aesthetic values but was required to participate in their definition and thus, more resolutely than before, in their creation. Politically speaking, in the 1960s the relationship between author, work of art and public became more democratic. Being a public began to mean having a stance. The existence or absence of a stance marked the boundary between the public and ordinary visitors (of an exhibition, play, live-action event, etc.)12.

It is partly clear that this shopping trolley or wheelbarrow with a package on them are different from the same trolleys or wheelbarrows outside the exhibition hall - and yet, why, exactly, are they here? In the experiments within easel painting the last aesthetic dividing line between a painting and external reality is the frame; even when the frame is abandoned and the artist paints the colours outside the painting and on the wall, this does not change the conventional materiality of colour, its interaction with the wall (or space) as a new frame. When displaying objects, a new dividing line needs to be found - for example, purposeful de-contextualization of the object, its extraction from the network of everyday relations, change of form. Whatever the dividing line might be, it is up to the viewer to find it because defining the limits of the object, its distinction from the reality of everyday life is the condition for communicating with the object. Robert Rauschenberg’s famous Bed13 is displayed vertically and it is obvious that one cannot sleep on it. How would we have reacted if the Bed had been painted only, or painted in a horizontal position with Venus, Olympia or a film star lying on it? It would have been a perhaps trivial but unquestionable work of art and some affluent viewer would have probably hanged it in his or her bedroom. The same applies to Christo’s wrapped objects - if they had been paintings, they would have appealed to the viewer’s existing aesthetic experience, and then the question whether they are art couldn’t have been asked. Then they would have probably been claimed to be inferior art, the understanding of which is organized through a value hierarchy ranging from masterpiece to kitsch. But in this case the question is a radical one: is it art at all?

Placed in the exhibition hall, Christo’s wrapped objects (the package on a wheelbarrow, the wrapped telephone, package on a table, motorcycle, signposts) are not entirely consistent with the purpose of the space - namely, to accommodate works of art. They cannot be viewed either as an unambiguous aesthetic reality logically distinguished from everyday reality or entirely as objects. According to a famous statement by Rauschenberg, he wanted to operate "in the gap between life and art" (Propyläen 1985: 76). Viewers cannot possibly take the wheelbarrow or wrapped telephone and reinsert them into an everyday life. Not because they wouldn’t be allowed to, but because of a structural reason: what will they do with this strange package on a wheelbarrow or with the wrapped telephone? If the viewer was to unwrap the telephone or remove the package from the wheelbarrow, s/he would violate the frame set by the artist. At the same time s/he would change his/her position as a viewer. Unstructured as Christo’s wrapped objects might appear to be, the distinction between them and everyday life is revived upon every attempt to erase it. Open as the work might seem to be, there are boundaries in the attitude towards it and, in one direction, these boundaries are more limited and distinct than in traditional works of art. Attempting to act unambiguously and blur the boundaries of the work, viewers are exposed to the absurdity of their own action, thereby realizing that the artefact is not an object for everyday use.

Following Duchamp’s precedent in the readymade (Duchamp 1913), the Nouveaux Réalistes sought to redraw the boundary between life and art. As noted above, they did this by creating works that cannot be used to decorate private or public interiors, by transforming industrial objects into an act of resistance against art as a commodity, as an object for purchase and sale, by seeking to eliminate the monopoly of museums in determining what is, and what is not, art. I will use as an example the monument of empty oil barrels displayed by Christo at the Second Festival of Nouveau Réalisme in Munich in 196314. While it might be reasonable to interpret the wall of barrels as a social critique, such an interpretation is too abstract. Here the challenge to tradition comes from the idea of a temporary monument that cannot easily be domesticated by museums awarding distinctions for eternity. Still, it is theoretically possible that the Festival would last forever and itself become a museum-monument. At that, Christo’s monument does not have a fixed structure as the barrels can be moved within the overall structure of the mastaba.

The rejection of eternity as a measure of the value of art is even clearer in The Mastaba of Abu Dhabi, Project for the United Arab Emirates (1977, in progress), where the original idea was to build a pyramid of oil barrels larger than the Great Pyramid at Giza that would remain in place for two months. The same idea, of contrasting the temporary to the eternal, underlies the blocking of Rue Visconti in Paris with oil barrels for eight hours. The work is called Wall of Oil Barrels - Iron Curtain15.

Fig. 5. Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Wall of Oil Barrels - Iron Curtain

Fig. 5. Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Wall of Oil Barrels - Iron Curtain

Those who moved towards the wall in the narrow street probably felt as if they were approaching a wall of cannon barrels. We cannot help thinking of the later shootings and killings committed by the border guards of the former East Germany upon attempts to cross the Berlin Wall. The Iron Curtain was Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s artistic and political reaction against the Berlin Wall, built as an eternal wall by a new medieval way of thinking. The intention of the temporary monument was to revise the concept of art as eternal, as classics immune to the teeth of time16. All that could remain in the museum was the documentation, but not the work itself or its effect upon and the reactions of the public. Incidentally, there is far less information about the reception of particular works of art than about the works themselves in traditional history of art as well. Temporary monuments as well as performances and happenings change the relationship between the notions of a work of art and time. Lasting for a period of time that will never be repeated and to which we cannot return, the experience of every live-action event or temporary monument is unique and reminiscent of the experience of historical events; in this respect at least, the boundary between art and life has been erased. Short-lasting and oriented entirely towards space, Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s later projects would challenge the conventional notion of the value of time even more strongly. Reconstructing a temporary monument cannot reconstruct the original experience and remains a museum act, as the reconstruction of Yves Klein’s exhibition "Le Vide" at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne at the end of 1994 showed.

Choice of Material and Attitude Towards the Early Avant-Garde

As an example of the combination of the two tendencies - of provocation of and integration into society - I will examine the use of oil barrels in the art of Christo and Jeanne-Claude. Here oil barrels are not a neutral material; they evoke a sense of actuality and of economic and war conflicts and, equally importantly, take away the aura, the possible elevation of an inert material uniquely shaped by the artist as creator. We can look at the composition of oil barrels (1958-59), mentioned at the beginning, as a still life. Genre-wise, this is entirely justified. Instead of flowers, fruit, vessels and the like, there are oil barrels; instead of domestic comfort or a domestic interior, there are associations of oil refineries, warehouses, markets, deals and non-transparency, environmental threats and conflicts. Here the very material is contrasted with a particular idea of existence and beauty. In the same period, Christo wrapped in cloth two cans, placing between them a bottle spray-painted in scarlet (see above). The three objects are of different height and they are arranged to form a triangle. They are private objects, but with an unclear purpose, which are not suitable to be displayed somewhere and do not create a second reality that conveys a warm sense of home and intimacy, giving meaning to and relieving the drabness and monotony of everyday life. The still life of two cans and a bottle does not evoke a sense of beauty - if displayed as a work of art in someone’s home, it would create a feeling of absurdity (confusion, strangeness, impenetrability, vague anxiety). The still-life genre has not been transformed, it has been destroyed. The material is not a means of creating the work, it is the work itself. One possible interpretation of these compositions is that there are no individual, private spaces, that the contemporary "nature" of humans is industrial, that everyone is dependent upon decisions that may be made at the other end of the world, etc. While here there is provocation, it is not the only effect of these works of art; they are not only provocative but also demonstrate social a social attitude and concern.

A comparison with Alfred Stieglitz’s photograph of Duchamp’s readymade Fountain (1917) reveals the difference. Duchamp has called "fountain" a urinal placed on its back and signed by the apparent producer/author, "R. Muth." Here the whole work is designed to scandalize; it does not simply denounce the lofty values that art is supposed to create but virtually "swears" at them. Compared with the "fountain," Duchamp’s first readymade featuring a bicycle wheel mounted on a wooden stool is a polite rejection of tradition. At the exhibition 72, Douze ans d'art contemporain en France in 1972, Ben Vautier, a Neo-Dadaist, displayed his Flacon d’urine (1962)17 (Millet 1993: 10-11). This caused a scandal, but the work was exhibited in an essentially state-sponsored exhibition organized at the request of the then president of France Georges Pompidou. The times had changed: the institution responded to the provocation with an integrative gesture and, giving it an official recognition, stripped it of its anarchist aura.

Let us go back to Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s Iron Curtain to elucidate even further the link between the chosen material and the sense of actuality or even political urgency. In the summer of 1962 there were demonstrations in Paris against the war in Algeria18. The blocking of Rue Visconti for eight hours on the night of June 27/28, 1962 with 240 oil barrels fitted into the general tone of the protest but had an opposite purpose: it wasn’t a left-wing protest against the governments of the West but against the "guardian of peace," the Soviet Union which had built on the night of August 12/13, 1961 a wall around West Berlin (Baal-Teshuva 1995: 23-24). Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s Iron Curtain was an action with a specific political purpose and engagement that differed from the provocative but abstract protest of the Dadaists in the years during and after the First World War. The difference is in the attitude towards society - political engagement is possible within society, and not from an external position.

It is also from this point of view to be understood the behaviour of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, who sent a description of the project for the barricade to the Paris Prefecture as early as October 1961 in order to get official permission. A Dadaist would not have sought cooperation with the authorities, with the police. But its seems that to the émigré from the Soviet bloc living in Paris without citizenship, political action was more important than scandal and pure aestheticism. It is in the opposition between scandal and engagement that one of the differences between Dadaism in the 1910s and 1920s and the revision of the Dadaist legacy in the late 1950s and early 1960s is manifested. In the latter period there was a distinct tendency towards returning to and transforming works and gestures from the age of the early avant-gardes after 1912. Among the many facts I will note one: the exhibition of the Nouveaux Réalistes at the J Gallery in Paris in May 1961 called A quarante degrés au-dessus de Dada. As to the temporary wall of oil barrels, its powerful aesthetic effect is unquestionable - even today, looking at the photographs and the poster decades later, I feel vindicated, even if just for a moment, for the years of communist lawlessness, stupidity and isolation from the world. The aesthetic effect of the temporary wall exposes the political falsehood about the need of building the real wall.

Alienation and Integration

While the dominant tendency in the art of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, especially from the early 1970s onwards, is that towards social integration, the opposite tendency continued as well - that of a sense of threat, isolation, destruction. As the latter is typical of their earlier works, I will look at it first.

Christo’s landmark text "Project for Wrapping a Public Building" from October 1961 (Christo 1993: 138) places the emphasis on the seclusion of the building, on its isolation from the surrounding environment and on indifference towards its social function. The building, according to the text, must be in an open and proportionate space, it must be quadrangular (evoking associations with a citadel, fortification, prison), it must be wrapped completely, and its entrances must be at a distance of fifteen to twenty meters and below street level. The introduction of this underground element intensifies the feeling of isolation and fear. This is reminiscent of tunnels dug underground and of political events and terrorist acts associated with them (the Berlin Wall, Bucharest in December 1989). The building, as the text notes further, may be a swimming pool, football ground or other sports facility, a planetarium, a hall - a concert, exhibition or conference hall - a museum and, finally, a parliament or prison. Its wrapping does not play on possible polyfunctionality but is intended to reveal the social non-transparency of the institution housed in the building, a non-transparency that is intimidating.

Fig. 6. Christo, Wrapped Building, 1963

Fig. 6. Christo, Wrapped Building, 1963

Indeed, the wrapping projects from 1961 (photo collage) and 196319 lend the buildings an inaccessible and intimidating look. The two buildings in the projects are the École Militaire and the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. In the 1963 photo collage the wrapped building as if rises from the background as in an Expressionist film and moves towards the viewer like a giant mass, the impression of unavoidable threat being intensified by the rays of light framing it. Realized in this form, the project would have definitely conveyed a sense of the social atmosphere in the early 1960s, despite all the talk of a political thaw at the time.

Fig. 7. Christo and Jeanne-Claude, 5,600 Cubicmeter Package, Project, 1968

Fig. 7. Christo and Jeanne-Claude, 5,600 Cubicmeter Package, Project, 1968

At Documenta 4 in Kassel in 1968, Christo and Jeanne-Claude displayed their 5,600 Cubicmeter Package, a 6,000 kg air package rising at a height of 85 meters20 "Displayed in a natural setting in the central area of Documenta, Christo’s giant balloon of plastic represents the moment of ultimate alienation" (Jaffè 1970: 326). The air package was actually erected in the Baroque garden of the Greenhouse in an eighteenth-century landscaped park, but this does not invalidate Hans Jaffè’s proposition as any contact or communication between the visitor to Documenta and the air package was virtually impossible. Supported eleven meters above the ground by a steel cradle-like base hinged on a central steel column, the giant package was detached from the viewers. It was designed to be a closed, triumphantly inaccessible structure, and this impression is intensified by the night photos that show it lit up and standing out in the darkness. In the long-distance photos the package, which is slightly curved, is as if leaning and about to collapse. The impression created by the giant structure is that of absurdity.

Fig. 8. Man Ray, The Enigma of Isidore Ducasse, 1920

Fig. 8. Man Ray, The Enigma of Isidore Ducasse, 1920

If we compare the Christos’ wrapping projects from the 1960s with an early "wrapping," Man Ray’s The Enigma of Isidore Ducasse21, we will see a different type of attitude towards the act of wrapping. Man Ray’s work is indeed enigmatic, conveying a sense of mystery that is not due to the photograph itself. The photograph is clear, unlike the rayograms where mystery is a conceptual feature of the photographic technique itself. After looking at the photograph for some time, we may imagine that something is moving under the blanket and this imaginary supposition may prompt us to invent a story - which, actually, is what the work is intended to make us do. The Enigma "winks" at viewers by prompting them to invent imaginary stories. Viewers may experience the enigmatic and mysterious as something scary but not to the point where they feel real fear, because the work provides the escape of laughter - after all, viewers are aware that they are involved in a hallucinatory game of imagination and reality. Especially considering that we know what Man Ray actually wrapped in the blanket and why he called his work The Enigma of Isidore Ducasse. While the dissecting-table, the umbrella and the sewing machine can indeed be symbols of violence, of sadomasochistic sexual fantasies, they do not necessarily have to be that only. It is difficult to turn the enigma into a sexual or other fetish because it is laden with ambiguity.

Fig. 9. Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Dockside Package, Cologne, 1961)

Fig. 9. Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Dockside Package, Cologne, 1961)

By contrast, the Christos’ wrapping projects would be easier to fetishize because of their unambiguous "grave" seriousness. Especially telling in this respect is Dockside Package22. There is no mystery, no smile of complicity at the viewer in Package23 or in 5,600 Cubicmeter Package, only a distinct sense of threat and isolation. This sense is intensified by the dense wrapping material, unlike the later translucent and colour materials. The seriousness, which grew to giant proportions in the 1961 and 1963 projects for wrapping buildings, amplifies the sense of depression and threatening solitude. The tendency towards alienation described above climaxed in the 5,600 Cubicmeter Package at Documenta, 1968.

The problem of the attitude of artistic and intellectual movements and groups of the end of the 1950s and the beginnings of the 1960s towards the avant-garde legacy of the 1910s and 1920s is significant as it can shed light on the question of whether the 1960s were the beginning of a new postmodern or a continuation of the modern age, even if in different forms. Usually both tendencies coexist and limit each other in the work of one and the same artist or thinker, as in the case of Christo and Jeanne-Claude24, without it being clear at the time which tendency would prevail and which line would develop in the future. For while Christo and Jeanne-Claude have continued to use a traditional modern language and to explain their projects in it to this day, their projects from the early 1970s are not modern and belong to a new age. Thus, two opposite tendencies coexist in the early works of Christo and Jeanne-Claude. One is the desire to change the understanding of art, to prompt viewers to define the boundaries of the work of art by themselves, to ask themselves what is art, what is its meaning and purpose - questions that viewers must ask not abstractly but personally, finding or at least trying to find their own personal answer. The other tendency is that of isolation of the work of art, of hardening of the modern idea of the autonomous, self-sufficient artefact which does not encourage but blocks communication; a tendency that does not allow the mixing of objects and blurring of boundaries but that, conversely, confirms them. In the 1960s such mixing and blurring could already be found in the urban environment of European and American metropolises as well as in art - for example, in the art of Robert Rauschenberg.

Change of Form

The Christos’ early wrapping projects as well as their later projects can be viewed as a solution to a traditional stylistic problem typical of 1950s and 1960s art: the problem of the relationship between the figurative and the abstract, and of their mutual transformation. Wrapped, covered or curtained off25, objects and spaces change their form and volume, their outlines becoming softer; the figurative becomes more abstract without being erased, as the Christos’ interference with the objects and buildings is not aggressive. This "soft" intervention is very convincing by wrapping in Spoleto and in the late project for the trees in Foundation Beyeler, Berower Park, Riehen, Switzerland, 1998.

Fig. 10. Baroque Fountain, Spoleto, Tympanum by Carlo Maderno, 1632

Fig. 10. Baroque Fountain, Spoleto, Tympanum by Carlo Maderno, 1632

I will discuss more detailed the wrapping of the Baroque fountain at the market place in Spoleto in 196826 during the Festival of the Two Worlds27. That same year the above-mentioned 5,600 Cubicmeter Package was erected at Documenta 4 in Kassel. For three weeks, the fountain remained wrapped in translucent polypropylene fabric which only partly hid its relief while hiding its individual elements completely.

Fig. 11. Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Wrapped Fountain, Spoleto, 1968

Fig. 11. Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Wrapped Fountain, Spoleto, 1968

Only the silhouette of the richly articulated Baroque shape of the fountain stood out, the draped fabric creating an impression of a waterfall that was intensified by the sound of the fountain itself. The vision of falling water probably fascinated viewers because the water was in constant motion, but the image created by it remained unchanged and, precisely because it was abstract, allowed viewers to make out figures in it. The water itself could not be seen in the wrapped fountain but its sound, as well as the changes created by the sunlight and the lighting at night, allowed the imagination to make up for what had become "invisible" - which is consistent with the poetics of Baroque. The wrapping of the Baroque fountain is one of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s most successful projects (although they initially planned to wrap the Classicist "Teatro Nuovo" in Spoleto) because of the mutual enhancement and harmony between the "content" of the fountain and the effect of the wrapping, between two different non-figurative, soft forms. It is important that the richly articulated architecture of the fountain remained discernible under the translucent wrapping. In this sense, this was no longer packaging-as-isolation but wrapping-as-interaction with architecture. The soft form of the fabric interacted with the changing light and was moved by the breeze, the sound of the water blended with the day and night sounds, and all those changes could evoke in viewers deep, inarticulate states occurring at a different speed and with different force. While abstraction, inarticulateness were dominant here, they did not represent the artist’s inner experiences; what moved viewers was the changed form of the architectural object. As to the question of why should this be regarded as art, the obvious answer is: because it is in harmony with nature and with tradition (Baroque) in art. The fountain is a traditional place allotted to nature within the culture of the city or the home. This project of Christo and Jeanne-Claude integrates entirely "naturally" into the Land Art movement of the 1960s and 1970s; and Land Art is art because it addresses and reinvents a traditional theme, that of the relationship between culture and nature.

Fig. 12. Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Wrapped Coast, Little Bay, Sidney

Fig. 12. Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Wrapped Coast, Little Bay, Sidney

The wrapping of approximately one hundred square kilometers in Little Bay, Sidney, Australia, for seven weeks in 196928 can be qualified as Process Art and Land Art as well. The solid forms of the coastal cliffs were simultaneously rendered softer and abstract by the fabric covering them, themselves becoming similar to rolling waves. The artists again played on the viewer’s primitive fascination with the encounter between sea and land, between the formless, incessant movement of the water and the over-articulated immobility of the coast. Two opposite images of eternity, upon which Christo and Jeanne-Claude superimposed an intermediate form while keeping the general silhouette of the cliffs whose soft shape can be followed by the gaze with little if any resistance, but without sliding over and immersing in it as when contemplating water. The fabric occasionally sank into the water, with the movement of the water hinting at unstable forms in it. The effect of this wrapping project was also enhanced by the rich play of light. As a whole the wrapped coast, a temporary monument, conveyed an impressive image of transience, contrasted with the eternal image of the coast and the ocean.

Fig. 13. Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Wrapped Floor and Stairway, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, 1969

Fig. 13. Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Wrapped Floor and Stairway, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, 1969

The tendency to transform ready architectural forms is represented in a moving and powerful way in Wrapped Floor and Stairway29. The clear-cut quadrangular forms (supporting columns, walls, ceiling, doors) contrast with the lava-like sprawl of the cover, geometric immobility with the impression of movement and bending, and wilful articulation of space with the unwillingness to have distinct forms. This project was later reproduced at the museums in Krefeld (Germany), Basel and Tokyo. Here it is easy to see how strongly the Christos are attracted to the relationship between form and formlessness30. The project was realized in conjunction with the wrapping of the entire museum in Chicago31.

Fig. 14. Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Wrapped, 1968-69

Fig. 14. Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Wrapped, 1968-69

Unlike the wrapping of the Kunsthalle in Berne (in the previous year, 1968), this time it was not the works of other artists but the Christos’ own work of art that was "wrapped" by the external wrapping of the building. It is preferable to perceive the external wrapping and internal covering not as two separate but as parts of a single work of art which, however, have opposite characteristics because here the opposite tendencies discussed above are united in a conflicting duality. The external wrapping closes and isolates - the isolation is "reconfirmed" by the dark colour and "roughness" of the tarpaulin and the shape of the building itself. "Christo and Jeanne-Claude considered the building perfect, because it looks like a package already, very anonymous."32 If they considered it perfect for their purposes, that was because their purpose was to reproduce precisely such a form - closed and anonymous, like a huge, impenetrable package. The interior, however - the lower gallery and stairway - was deliberately changed; first emptied of everything and then painted in white, it was reproduced as something different (Bourdon/Astwood 1970/2000). The change consists in the act of creating an empty space as well as in the latter’s "softening," the removal of its "hardness" through the form, colour and surface of the cotton cloth contrasted with the external wrapping.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s wrapping projects until the early 1970s can be "read" (in terms of the relationship between lightness and heaviness) through the prism of these two tendencies and divided into two main types. The first type accentuates simultaneously the expression of the object and its materiality (Package, 1960; Dockside Package, 1961). This also applies to the projects for wrapped buildings, such as those in Paris (1961 and 1963) or the project for Lower Manhattan (1964-66). The second type transforms the materiality of objects or buildings, giving them a light or even airy quality (for example, the fountain in Spoleto; to some extent, the Kunsthalle in Bern, and the wrapping of flowers) by using translucent and, later, brightly coloured wrapping material. The heavy Valley Curtain can be viewed as a fiery curtain and, if one wants to, one can even see it as a giant sexual image. In the first case, wrapping accentuates and in the second it lightens the material of the wrapped objects or buildings. Almost all projects of the Christos from the 1970s onwards belong to the second type. Here the challenge lies in the translation of materiality into abstraction, and in the attempt to dissolve the material into the elements of water and air. The social advantage of the "light" wrapping projects is in their openness to and integration of the public.

Some Methodology

Faced in the early 1960s with a number of so-called works of art, viewers could not draw on the history of art in order to understand them. For example, viewers of César’s compressions were totally on their own - there was no authority whose established values could offer them a point of reference. Not only was the object removed from its usual context - the network of everyday relationships (product - use - waste) - refashioned and declared to be art, but through that viewers were also pushed out of the value field (as the artist intended) within which they felt confident and competent. Nothing in César’s compressed objects or cars indicated where the viewer’s place was or what the viewer was faced with. These works of art did not encourage associations with a historical context, and even less allowed themselves to be interpreted within the horizon of a particular historical age as was usual for art until 1910/1912 and for part of the avant-gardes. This singularity and [accidentality of the work of art signalled the disintegration of the grand, epochal context and problematized every approach aimed to reconstruct and interpret historical ages as a sum of individual correspondent subsystems forming a grand entity. Works of art were accidental and those who wanted to interact with art had to concentrate only on the particular work33. Mediators, such as tradition in art and aesthetic experience assimilated through tradition, had lost meaning and could not fulfil their functions. The idea of form as an organic entity, challenged and weakened by Cubism and early Futurism (1909-1913), was dead. Industrial "nature" was and is not organic. At the same time, the industrial idea (manufacture and purchase of a well-formed and well-functioning object) was deprived of regularity and form, being reduced in the works of the Nouveaux Réalistes to junk, to formless and random objects. Or regularity and form were scattered in the works of kinetic art into regularities and forms turning the organic entity of a work into numerous works. By the mid-1960s the singular had become multiple.

What in the late 1950s and early 1960s began to be presented as art - happenings, the objects of Nouveau Réalisme, the kinetic images of Op Art, the multiplication of images, the comic imagery of Pop Art, assemblages and spaces - required a revision of the main question from "is this work of art good or bad" to "is this a work of art at all?" This question is fundamental both for viewers and experts. While the first question is within the limits of the concept of art, the second concerns the very concept of art. The answer to this "ontological" question must be given in the encounter between the viewer and the work of art. There is no escaping this question: even if the viewer turns his/her back to the exhibited object, s/he will thus give a negative answer and declare his/her refusal "to meet," to enter into a relationship with the work. But if this almost accidental formlessness, as in César’s compressions, moves the unbiased viewer, the answer to the question of "why does it move you" may refer both to the particular work and to the concept of art.

An apparent way out of the problem is to reaffirm the conventional concept, to declare some of the classical forms as art and thus renounce the work in question. A return to the apparent comfort of the familiar which, at the time of its creation, was neither comfortable nor familiar. Understood in this way, classical art does not require one to take a stance and make a choice. For who other than experts could orient themselves, in a satisfactory way, in Titian’s Counter-Reformation iconography or the relationship between Guercino’s early and late works? In this case, the resort to tradition is an unconscious refusal to answer the question: What is art, what is artistic quality? Tradition is turned into an insurance against the risk of giving a wrong answer.

If, however, we want to tackle the problem and determine upon any chance encounter if something is, or is not, art, then we will become involved in an important change. A comprehensive concept of art seems not necessarily to be constructed as its boundaries change unpredictably with every work of art; the distinction between high and low art loses its evaluative validity; consequently it is not obligatory to construct a general and rigorous methodology for analysis of art. A methodology can serve more as an orientation than as a set of strict procedures. The entry of everyday images into art, which began with the emergence of the poster in the late nineteenth century, developed and intensified in the 1950s, reaching one of its peaks in Pop Art in the 1960s. Until the end of the 1950s modern art was informed by the tendency of formal and value contrast between the avant-garde and all other art; from the 1960s onwards, however, we see the beginnings of the opposite tendency - of fusion between kitsch and avant-garde - which will later lead to the weakening and disappearance of the avant-garde as a concept and function.

The viewer is confused by the seemingly pure - in relation to his/her previous experience of art - accidentalness of the works. But exactly this could prove to be an advantage: s/he is not pressed by the authority of the traditional and institutionalized notions of art: s/he is not required to be educated in a particular tradition of what is art, in a particular interpretation and approach to works of art, to have a formed and comprehensive aesthetic experience, etc. A reference point in the perception of one type of art, those characteristics would be an obstacle in the perception of another type. A different tendency gradually emerged in the late 1950s and 1960s; television-type imagery, among other things, undoubtedly contributed to its assertion. We will define this tendency as a weakening of the need of comprehensive aesthetic experience, of a particular mindset, of a clear convention as to what is of artistic value, of all characteristics that could help viewers or experts orient themselves in the large temporary entities called historical ages in art. The diversity and indefiniteness of what came to be offered as art, the change of a dozen-odd movements in just several years, presupposed the existence of an aesthetic experience and capacity for perception based not on the principle of similarity and contextual associations but of radical difference, of incomparability of works, movements, verbal gestures. Since the early 1960s, aesthetic experience has been faced with the challenge of infinite differentiation, just as aesthetic theory has been faced with the need to become aesthetic theories constructing not global but micro-conceptual fields whose connection remains problematic. A comprehensive idea of form, of what art is, would, rather, impede the freedom of perceiving aesthetic phenomena in their particularity, randomness or deliberate lack of meaning. It is just as important that in the 1960s the changes in art brought about a change in the discourse on art and its social function, consisting in the gradual decrease of claims about its counter-adaptive and subversive nature as its autonomous existence dissolved into other types of social existence. This also called into question the avant-garde thesis opposing art to culture34.




* I sincerely thank Mr. Vladimir Yavachev, New York, for his help with information about the early works of Christo and Jeanne-Claude. The works of Christo and Jeanne-Claude are reproduced by their permission.

Information about the projects of Christo and Jeanne-Claude is available on their official website: <http://www.christojeanneclaude.net>. Permission to reproduce the works and data on the works of Yves Klein obtained from: Philippe Siauve, Yves Klein Archives. Permission to reproduce the works and data on the works of Jean Tinguely obtained from Magnus Malmros, Moderna Museet, Department of Rights and Reproductions. [back]

1. Expressionism, in various forms, is one of the enduring characteristics of twentieth-century art: German and Dutch Expressionism in the first two decades of the century, American Abstract Expressionism in the 1940s and 1950s, Neo-Expressionism in the 1980s, Expressionism in film, theatre and literature. [back]

2. The information that the Nouveaux Réalistes distanced themselves from or even did not accept Christo was given to me by Mr. Vladimir Yavachev, New York. [back]

3. Jean Tinguely, Méta-Matic No. 17, 1959, 330 cm high, painted metal, wood, paper, Moderna Museet, Stockholm. [back]

4. From November 1994 to January 1995 the exhibition "Le Vide" was reconstructed as part of the Yves Klein retrospective at the Ludwig Museum in Cologne. [back]

5. Yves Klein, Anthropométrie de l´époque bleue, (ANT 78), 1960; Yves Klein, Anthropométrie de l¹époque bleue, (ANT 82), 1960; Pigment pur et résine synthétique sur papier marouflé sur toile, 156.5 x 282.5 cm, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris. [back]

6. Christo, Wrapped Oil Barrels, 1958-59, fabric, enamel paint, steel wire and barrels. Barrels 49 х 33 cm to 89 х 59 cm, New York, Jeanne-Claude Christo Collection. [back]

7. Christo, Wrapped Cans and Bottle, 1958-59, cans, enamel paint, canvas, string, spray-painted bottle. Cans 7.6 х 9 and 9.5 х 8.2 cm; bottle 16 х 5.7 cm. New York, Jeanne-Claude Christo Collection. The idea of the still-life installation Shelf (1958, New York, Jeanne-Claude Christo Collection) is similar. [back]

8. The phrase is used by Werner Haftmann in his introductory study in the collection Metamorfosi dell' oggetto, Milano, published on the occasion of the exhibition at Palazzo Reale in Milan. Year of publication not indicated. [back]

9. An especially powerful and repulsive image of society through its waste was created in the 1950s by Edward Kienholz. [back]

10. Another concrete result of this utopian idea is "the art as a factor organizing the living environment" (Angelov 1973: 102-123). [back]

11. Christo, Package on Wheelbarrow, 1963, cloth, metal, wood, rope, and twine, 89 х 152 х 58.5 cm. New York, Museum of Modern Art. [back]

12. The reality of this change was thematized simultaneously in the theory of receptive aesthetics and in Umberto Eco’s study on the open work (Eco 1995). [back]

13. Robert Rauschenberg, Bed, 1.90 х 0.80 cm, combine painting, 1955, Leo Castelli Collection. [back]

14. It was at the Second Festival in 1963 that Christo joined the group of the Nouveaux Réalistes. [back]

15. Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Wall of Oil Barrels - Iron Curtain, June 27, 1962, Rue Visconti, Paris, 4.3 х 3.8 х 1.7 m. [back]

16. In a similar way, gathering to mark the thirtieth anniversary of Fluxus in 1993, members of the movement climbed on a horse, posing (and parodying) as heroes and lords and thus creating temporary sculptures. Another example are the live sculptures (two half-naked women) which Pierro Manzoni signed in 1961, adding a numbered certificate of authenticity to each. [back]

17. The exhibition 72, Douze ans d'art contemporain en France demonstrated the change in the attitude of institutions and society towards contemporary art (Мillet 1993: 7-26). [back]

18. See the excerpt from the news of the day in the article by Tomov (1990: 5). [back]

19. Christo, Wrapped Building, project, photo collage, 1963. New York, Jeanne-Claude Christo Collection. [back]

20. Christo and Jeanne-Claude, 5,600 Cubicmeter Package, 1967-68, fabric, rope, steel, air, 85 х 10 m, Kassel. [back]

21. Man Ray, The Enigma of Isidore Ducasse, photograph, 1920. Man Ray’s object has been reconstructed and photographed in several variants. [back]

22. Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Dockside Package, Cologne, 1961, industrial paper, tarpaulin, and rope, 480 х 180 х 960 cm. [back]

23. Christo, Package, 1961, cloth and rope on wood, 84 х 137 х 20.3 cm, New York, Jeanne-Claude Christo Collection. [back]

24. It is interesting to analyze the now distinguishable "modern" and "postmodern" layers within the theoretical languages of the 1960s, their mutual penetration and displacement. [back]

25. As in the Store Fronts from 1964-1965 or in the Wrapped Tees Project, 1998, Foundation Beyeler and Berower Park, Riehen, Switzerland. [back]

26. Baroque Fountain, Piazza del Mercato, Spoleto, Timpano by Carlo Maderno, 1632. [back]

27. Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Wrapped Fountain, Piazza del Mercato, Spoleto, 1968, polypropylene fabric and rope. [back]

28. Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Wrapped Coast, 1969, Little Bay, Sidney, polypropylene fabric and rope, 46 to 244 m wide, approximately 2,400 m long. [back]

29. Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Wrapped Floor and Stairway, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, 1969, cotton drop cloth and rope, 260 sq m. [back]

30. In 1995 the press reported about a similar project, realized by Christo and Jeanne-Claude in Germany as a prelude to the wrapping of the Reichstag. [back]

31. Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Wrapped, 1969, tarpaulin and rope. [back]

32. "Christo and Jeanne-Claude considered the building perfect, because it looks like a package already, very anonymous." (Bourdon / Astwood 1970/2000). [back]

33. Such an attempt at discovering and defining artistic value through individual works was undertaken by literary structuralism; external determinants, such as historical age, social situation, the life of the author, historical development of literature or ideological influences were declared to be non-specific to artistic value or, at best, auxiliary. The territory preferred by structuralism, however, were not contemporary but classical works from a national or from the European literary canon. With few exceptions, structuralism worked in fields enlightened by tradition, looking for structural regularities in works whose artistic value was beyond doubt. No one questioned their artistic value and the purpose of structuralism (and of stylistic criticism) was to justify it through rational analysis. This also applies to the structural-stylistic analyses made in Bulgaria by Nikola Georgiev, Tsanko Mladenov, Radosvet Kolarov, Iskra Panova, early works of Alexander Kiossev. One exception is Nikola Georgiev’s article on the contemporary Bulgarian writer Yordan Radichkov (Georgiev 1968: 216-235). [back]

34. In Bulgaria, this thesis was defended in a number of studies by Atanas Natev in the 1960s and 1970s. [back]



List of Illustrations

Fig. 1: Jean Tinguely, Méta-Matic, No. 17, 1959.

Fig. 2: Yves Klein, Anthropométrie de l’époque bleue (ANT 78), 1960.

Fig. 2а: Yves Klein, Anthropométrie de l’époque bleue (ANT 82), 1960.

Fig. 3: Christo, Wrapped Oil Barrels, 1958-59.

Fig. 4: Christo, Package on Wheelbarrow, 1963.

Fig. 5: Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Wall of Oil Barrels - Iron Curtain, Paris, 1962.

Fig. 6: Christo, Wrapped Building, 1963.

Fig. 7: Christo and Jeanne-Claude, 5,600 Cubicmeter Package. Project, Kassel, 1968.

Fig. 8: Man Ray, The Enigma of Isidore Ducasse, 1920.

Fig. 9: Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Dockside Package, Cologne, 1961.

Fig. 10: Baroque Fountain, Piazza del Mercato, Spoleto. Timpanum by Carlo Maderno, 1632.

Fig. 11: Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Wrapped Fountain, Piazza del Mercato, Spoleto, 1968.

Fig. 12: Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Wrapped Coast, Little Bay, Australia, 1968-69.

Fig. 13: Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Wrapped Floor and Stairway, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, 1969.

Fig. 14: Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Wrapped, 1968-69.




This list includes publications which I used while working on this article. The newspaper articles about and interviews with the Christos would fill several pages, which makes their listing practically impossible.

Adorno 1990: Адорно, Теодор. Философия на новата музика. София: Наука и изкуство, 1990, с. 41-77.

Angelov 1973: Ангелов, Валентин. Авангардното изкуство на Запад днес. София: Наука и изкуство, 1973.

Angelov 1995: Ангелов, Валентин. Речник на термините по естетика. София: Булвест, 1995.

Art 1990: Art (das Kunstmagazin), Dezember 1990; Mai 1994.

Art 1995: Art (a special issue, dedicated to Christo and Jeanne-Claude), 1995.

Avramov 1969: Аврамов, Димитър. Естетика на модерното изкуство. София: Наука и изкуство, 1969.

Avramov 1995: Аврамов, Димитър. Интервю. // Литературен вестник, бр. 28, 13-19.09.1995, с. 8.

Baal-Teshuva 1995: Baal-Teshuva, Jacob. Christo & Jeanne-Claude. Köln: Benedikt Tashen, 1995, S. 23-24.

Balkan 1995: Balkan: (board journal), ноември-декември 1995/6, с. 8-16, 33-37.

Becker und Vostell 1965: Happening, Fluxus, Pop Art, Nouveau Realisme. Hg. J. Becker und W. Vostell. Reinbek bei Hamburg, 1965.

Bekriev 1995: Бекриев, Христо. Етюди за Кристо. Велико Търново, 1995.

Bildende Kunst 1993: Glasmaier, M. Die Freiheit ist um die Ecke. S. 18-22; Fluxus ist kein Luxus. S. 22-25. // Neue Bildende Kunst, 1993, № 5.

Bloch 1921: Bloch, Ernst. Geist der Utopie, 1921.

Böhme 1995: Böhme, Gеrnot. Atmosphäre. Essays zu einer neuen Ästhetik. FaM, 1995.

Bourdon/Astwood 1970/2000: Bourdon/Astwood, 1970/2000 <http://www.christojeanneclaude.net/moca.shtml> (25.02.2008).

Briganti 1990: Briganti, G. Provocazione culturale: l`arte italiana nei primi anni sessanta. // Arte italiana del XX secolo. Pittura e scultura. 1900-1988. Milano, 1990, p. 301-307.

Calvesi 1979: Calvesi, Maurizio. Christo - possesso e consumismo. // Maurizio Calvesi: Teoria e pratiche della critica d` arte. Milano 1979, p. 270-72.

Celant 1976: Celant, Gеrmano. Christo. // Germano Celant: Senza titolo. Bulzoni Editore, 1976, p. 191-94.

Christo 1990: Christo. Text von Marina Vaizey. Recklingshausen, 1990.

Christo 1990: Може би в София. До г-н Филип Зидаров. Отговор на Жан-Клод Кристо. // Култура, 09.03.1990.

Christo 1993: Christo: Der Reichstag und urbane Projecte. Hersgegeben von Jacob Baal-Teshuva. München: Prestel, 1993, S. 138.

Claus 1963: Claus, Jürgen. Theorien zeitgenössischer Malerei. Reinbek bei Hamburg, 1963, S. 12-17.

Debord 1978: Debord, Guy. Die Gesellschaft des Spektakels. Hamburg, 1978.

Del Guercio 1985: Del Guercio, A: Storia dell`arte presente. Europa e Stati Uniti dal 1845 a oggi. Roma, 1985, p.73-74.

Documenta 1968: Documenta 4. Ausstellungskatalog. Neue Galerie - Museum Fredericianum - Orangerie, 2. Bde. Kassel, 1968.

Dorfles 1976: Dorfles, Gillo. Ultime Tendenze nell`arte di oggi. Dall` Informale al concettuale. Milano 1976 (terza edizione).

Eco 1995: Eco, Umberto. Opera aperta. Forma e indeterminazione nelle poetiche contemporanee. Milano: Bompiani, 1995. (First edition 1962, revised and enlarged in the next two editions - 1967 и 1971).

Fohrmann and Müller 1988: Diskurstheorien und Literaturwissenschaft. Hg. J. Fohrmann / H. Müller. FaM, 1988.

Georgiev 1968: Георгиев, Никола. Превъплъщенията на Нане Вуте. // Септември, 1968/6, с. 216-235.

Georgieva 1995: Георгиева, К. Като поклонници пред космически кораб. // Демократически преглед, бр. 6-7, 1995, с. 197-201.

Heidi 1995: Heidi, E. Violand-Hobi. Jean Tinguely. Biographie und Werk. New York / München, 1995.

Jaffè 1970: Jaffè, Hans L. L’Arte del XX Secolo. Firenze, 1970, p. 326.

Jauss 1984: Jauss, Hans Robert. Kritik an Adornos Ästhetik der Negativität. // H.-R. Jauss. Ästhetische Erfahrung und literarische Hermeneutik. FaM, 1984 (vierte Auflage), S. 44-71.

Jauss 1990: Jauss, H. R.: Der literarische Prozess des Modernismus von Rousseau bis Adorno. // Hans Robert Jauss: Studien zum Epochenwandel der ästhetischen Moderne. Frankfurt am Main, 1990 (zweite Auflage), S. 67-104.

Küchler 1994: Küchler, T. Art and Technology: Marcel Duchampґs Play. // Tilmann Küchler: Postmodern Gaming. New York, 1994, p. 107-27.

Kunst 1969: Kunst der 60er Jahre. Sammlung Lugwig im Wallraf-Richartz-Museum. Hrsg. G. v. Osten und H. Keller. Köln, 1969 (zweite Auflage).

Lexikon 1987: Lexikon der Kunst. Bde. 1-6. Leipzig, 1987 ff.

Lexikon 1988: Herders Lexikon der Kunst. Bde. 1-12. Freiburg im Breisgau, 1988.

Lippert, Franz 1990: Concept Art, Minimal Art, Arte Povera, Land Art. Sammlung E. Marzona, Katalog der Ausstellung, Texte von Werner Lippert und Erich Franz, Kunsthalle Bielefeld. Bielefeld, 1990.

Lübbe 1988: Lübbe, Henrich Der verkürzte Aufenthalt in der Gegenwart. // Postmoderne oder der Kampf um die Zukunft. Hg. Peter Kemper. FaM, 1988, S. 145-65.

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© Andel V. Angelov
© Katerina Popova
, translated from Bulgarian
© E-magazine LiterNet, 26.02.2007, № 2 (99)

Other publications:
The first version of the essay was published in: Летература / Lettre internationale, 1995/9, pp. 38-48. This is a revised and extended version.