Art as Life: The Works of Christo and Jeanne-Claude at Lindau

Lindau Art Museum and the Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation present "A Lifelong Journey," a comprehensive exhibition on the artistic and romantic union of artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude

Words and Images Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation
Introduction and Editing Gabrielle de la Cruz

Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped (2021). Header: Valley Curtain, Colorado, USA. Photographed by Wolfgang Volz.

Installation artists and husband-and-wife Christo Vladimirov Javacheff and Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon were born on the same day, June 13, 1935. Their artistic and romantic union gave birth to numerous ephemeral yet remarkable large-scale installations, creating gentle disturbances that marry art and architecture. “They were visionaries—they never got tired of believing in their dreams,” the Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation shares. “They always championed their art in public spaces with vehemence and conviction and they financed all their projects themselves… Both were driven by an almost childlike joy in pushing boundaries and together they were able to inspire.” Christo and Jeanne-Claude captivated the world with their work, using fabric as their signature material and both natural landscapes and urban structures as their canvas.

Kanto Creative Corners A Lifelong Journey Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation and Lindau Art Museum
Christo Vladimirov Javacheff and Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon, photographed by Bob Kiss. “He was the visionary who had already defined every fold in his drawings with enormous perfection, she was the communicative talent. After Jeanne-Claude’s death in 2009, Christo continued to work on their projects. He died 11 years later, in 2020.”

Together they took on the world as their own gallery: they altered The Gates in New York’s Central Park; stretched a gigantic curtain between two mountainsides in Colorado, USA; wrapped the Reichstag in Berlin; and made it possible for hundreds of thousands of people to walk across the water of Lake Iseo in Italy. Despite years of production and planning, most of these works were removed after an average of 14 days, bringing millions of people together and changing our view of the world.

Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin (1995) and drawing (1993). Photographed by Wolfgang Volz.

A Lifelong Journey by Lindau Art Museum aims to shed light on the artists’ work, narrating how two extraordinary people went from meeting in Paris in 1958 to growing together as a couple and artistic duo. It is the first comprehensive museum exhibition on Christo and Jeanne-Claude in southern Germany and was created in collaboration with the Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation. With remarkable loans, the exhibit consists of artistic drawings, detailed collages, early objects, and fascinating photographs.

Drawings: The Gates, Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped; Wrapped Reichstag, and The Floating Piers. Photos 1, 2, and 4 by Wolfgang Volz.

In addition to the couple’s boldest dreams and Christo’s original works, visitors to the exhibition in Lindau will experience scenes through the lens of exclusive photographer and companion Wolfgang Volz, who has been documenting the international projects in close collaboration with the couple since 1972. His photographs have contributed to the development and realization of unique artistic projects and made them accessible to a wide audience. The sketches and collages as well as the photographs have thus become works of art in their own right, documenting the transience of the projects while at the same time making them unforgettable and allowing them to stand the test of time.

This year’s special exhibition in Lindau is curated by Dr. Sophie Sümmermann and Prof. Dr. Ro- land Doschka. Roland Doschka was the initiator of the successful special exhibitions in Lindau more than ten years ago together with Alexander Warmbrunn, Head of the Cultural Office. Since 2011, the Art Museum’s presentations have been crowd-pleasers, attracting around 800,000 visitors to Lindau in the past.

Kanto Creative Corners A Lifelong Journey Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation and Lindau Art Museum
Lindau Art Museum. Photographed by Christian Flemming.

Born in Lindau, Sümmermann has close links with the Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation in New York, which is closely involved in the realization of the exhibition and provides the majority of the exhibited works. Vladimir Yavachev, Christo’s nephew, has been a long-time companion to Christo and Jeanne-Claude and is still working on the realization of the projects. He has been personally present in Lindau for the installation and as a representative of the foundation on site. •

Christo and Jeanne-Claude: A Lifelong Journey will be on display at the Lindau Art Museum until October 13, 2024. The exhibition is open daily from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

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