Christo has died at 84

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Sunday 31 May 2020 the Bulgarian-American artist Christo (°1935, Gabrovo, Bulgaria) died in New York City. Christo was active as an architect, sculptor, installation artist, painter and drawer. 

With his 'wrapping art' he gained international fame. In 1956, following his studies, he fled the communist regime in Bulgaria and settled in Paris, where he started making his first wrapped objects. He soon established links with the Paris art scene and the nouveau réalistes, with whom he is often associated. But although he too combined everyday objects in assemblages, his conceptual focus was elsewhere. He saw his work not so much as social criticism, but as a means of exploring aesthetic issues concerning concealment versus disclosure and restriction versus openness.

'Grand empaquetage noir' (1969) in our collection

With ‘Grand empaquetage noir’ from the museum's collection, S.M.A.K. pays tribute to the artist. This work took shape as a preliminary study for Christo’s first large-scale projects in public space, such as ‘Wrapped Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago’ (1969). In this work, the artist examined the behaviour of a piece of cloth draped over an angular object. The ropes that originally held the cloth together at the bottom were removed. This meant the cloth could flow over the floor of the exhibition space in a ‘dramatic choreography’ and Christo thereby emphasized not only the outlines of the wrapped object, but also the sculptural quality of the draped cloth. Fabrics falling in folds are a common motif in art history and appear in, among other things, Renaissance paintings by Tintoretto, baroque sculpture by Bernini and the present-day dress sculptures by Beverly Semmes.

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