"Christo and Jeanne-Claude. Paris!” is the title of the current exhibition at the Centre Pompidou, the celebrated Parisian cultural center designed by architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers. The exhibition is dedicated to the celebrated artists. A couple in both their personal lives and art, Christo Vladimirov Javacheff and Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon met in Paris in 1958. The exhibition, which opened to the public one month after Christo’s death, looks back on the two artists’ Parisian period from 1958 to 1964, and the story behind one of their most iconic projects “The Pont-Neuf Wrapped [Le Pont-Neuf empaqueté], Paris, 1975-1985”, conceived as early as 1975 and created in 1985. The exhibition was originally scheduled for March 2020, to prepare for the presentation of a new and long-awaited temporary installation by Christo: “L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped (Project for Paris, Place de l'Étoile)”, originally scheduled for Autumn 2020. The spread of Covid-19 and resulting pandemic led to rescheduling of the exhibition at the Centre Pompidou, now open to the public from July 1 to October 19, 2020, and the urban installation being deferred by a year. This will now be held from September 18 to October 3, 2021. The temporary work, conceived in agreement with the Centre des Monuments Nationaux (National Monuments Centre) and Centre Pompidou, will be created using 25,000 square meters of recyclable blue-silver polypropylene fabric and 7,000 meters of red cord. Christo and Jeanne-Claude wanted their works in progress to continue even after their deaths. For this reason the installation was not canceled after the artist’s death and will be completed by his studio.
The exhibition was curated by Sophie Duplaix, Head Curator of contemporary collections at the National Museum of Modern Art, in close collaboration with Christo. This very important project presents about 80 little-known studio works that center on the couple’s artistic creations in Paris from their meeting in 1958 to their move to New York in 1964. Seven years, essential to the artistic development of the couple who broke free from the painted surface and began wrapping everyday objects and creating temporary artworks with monumental dimensions in public spaces. The second section of the exhibition reveals the creative process behind the Pont-Neuf Wrapped project. The exhibition retraces all the stages leading up to this monumental urban work with original drawings and collages, engineering studies and photographs of the site. The collection consists of around 300 items and includes the screening of the documentary Christo in Paris (1990) by the Maysles brothers, which traces the development of the project over 10 years and recounts the biography of the artists who produced some of the most spectacular works of art in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The staging of the exhibition highlights the differences between the two sections of the exhibition, on the one hand small works created in the studio and on the other an urban work.
Images courtesy of Christo
L'Arc de Triumph, Wrapped (Project for Paris) Place de l'Etoile - Charles de Gaulle
Collages and Drawings Photo: André Grossmann © 2019 Christo www.christojeanneclaude.net
Christo and Jeanne-Claude
Date 1 July – 19 October 2020
Location: Gallery 2, Level 6 Centre Pompidou, Paris – France
Curator Sophie Duplaix
Research Officer Marion Guibert
Production Officer Anne-Claire Gervais
Architect and Designer Corinne Marchand