Skip to content
a posthumous tribute to Paris, the city of their loves


With such a first name – which will have served as his artist name – one hardly dares to write about Christo Vladimiroff Javacheff (1935-2020), born in Gabrovo, Bulgaria, who moved to the West in 1957, than his career, known in particular for its pharaonic packaging and packaging, was a Stations of the Cross.

But we would almost be convinced after watching the documentary Christo & Jeanne-Claude The art of hiding, the art of revealing, by Jörg Daniel Hissen and Wolfram Hissen, which Arte broadcasts for the last time on the night of Sunday, October 3, while the exhibition period of the Arc de triomphe packaged in Paris comes to an end after two weeks.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also The underside of the Arc de Triomphe packaging, Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s latest exciting project

With his wife Jeanne-Claude (1935-2009), artist name of Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon, daughter of a general director of the Ecole Polytechnique, they will spend an important part of their life convincing, negotiating and financing the gigantic installations, often controversial, which made their glory. Because, contrary to what we repeat too often – and which corrects and documents this film -, this one was more than the organizer of the concepts of Christo.

Read the review: Christo and Jeanne-Claude, the matrix of the Parisian years, at the Center Pompidou

Arrived in Paris in 1958, where he met Jeanne-Claude, Christo covered with plastic and tied up statues, objects, plastic mannequins or human bodies. In 1962, he caused a sensation by blocking Visconti Street without authorization with an “iron curtain” made up of barrels of oil – an allusion to the Berlin Wall that we dare not say veiled, because the fabric does not was not yet packing the projects of this son of… weaver.

Sublime madness

Very early on, the desire to invest more widely in the public space itches them. Their requests for authorization are refused. But the dating of their project The Arc de triomphe, Wrapped – Paris, 1961-2021 shows that the idea dates back to sixty years ago. In the meantime, there will have been, in Paris, in 1985, the packaging of the Pont-Neuf, a poetic madness in the pure spirit of the 1980s, then, ten years later, the imposing packaging of the Reichstag of Berlin.

a posthumous tribute to Paris, the city of their loves

The documentary notably involves Wolfgang Voltz, their exclusive photographer, artistic advisor (and co-decision maker since their death), who recalls the sublime madness of these numerous and ruinous installations around the world, with the constraints of Oulipian essence, financed only by the sale. works by Christo: no subsidy, no private money.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Christo and the Mastaba, a pharaonic dream in the desert of Abu Dhabi

There is something very noble and very beautiful in seeing this stubbornness, which Christo defined as “An irrepressible desire to accomplish a project”, all the more desirable since it had no concrete justification: “It’s probably the fact of being from a communist country, but I will never do anything for a reason, but only because I want to”, we hear him say in this remarkable documentary.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also The Arc de triomphe packaged by Jeanne-Claude and Christo revives the debate on contemporary art in public space

The film comes full circle by starting and ending with the installation, a few weeks ago, of The Arc de triomphe, Wrapped – Paris, 1961-2021, even going to visit the factory of the fabric (recyclable) which wrapped it. He is also reminded that we must see in this miracle – which succeeded in revealing by concealing it a monument that one could no longer see by dint of having seen it too much – a “Posthumous homage to the city which saw the birth of the love of Jeanne-Claude and Christo”.

Christo & Jeanne-Claude The art of hiding, the art of revealing, documentary by Jörg Daniel Hissen and Wolfram Hissen (Fr.-All., 2021, 91 min). Available on until December 13.

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.