Paris, Jul 1 (EFE) .- After the long journey through confinement, the Pompidou Center in Paris reopened its doors on Wednesday with an exhibition dedicated to the artist Christo, famous for his monumental wrappings and who died in late May.
It is a “damn” exhibition, as recognized by the museum’s president, Serge Lasvignes, because he had planned to present it on March 17, the same day that the French government decreed confinement to combat the pandemic.
A little more than a month later, Christo passed away as a result of respiratory failure, without being able to witness the retrospective dedicated to him by the city that had welcomed him two years after having fled his native Bulgaria.
“This exhibition transcends the artist’s death, it seems to us an extraordinary way to reopen the doors after this painful hiatus,” explained Lasvignes, who pointed out that his museum seeks to “restore optimism through art” to the population.
In Paris, the idea of wrapping objects for an artistic purpose was born and there, in a small attic apartment that served as a workshop, his conception of moving it to monuments took the first steps.
EXILE IN PARIS
“He had done very academic studies in Sofia, and in Paris he imbues himself with artistic effervescence and wants to develop his own, novel gesture. This is how packaging comes about, (…) which he conceives as a tension between surface and volume “the curator of the show, Sophie Dupleix, assured Efe.
The exhibition focuses on Christo’s Parisian journey, on the influence the artist had on the city where he arrived in 1958 and that welcomed him until he settled in New York in 1964.
“These are essential years in the evolution of her work,” said the curator, who points out that she always maintained a particular relationship with the French capital.
It was there that he met Jeanne-Claude, born like him on June 13, 1935 and with whom, in addition to a romantic relationship, he ended up developing a profound artistic symbiosis that makes “his art cannot be understood without both.”
The exhibition in Paris collects the first objects that Christo wrapped to capture his language: suitcases, shopping carts, toys or children’s chairs.
Hand in hand with Jeanne-Claude, the projects begin to grow in size and both begin to create ephemeral works of great depth, such as the wall of drums that they formed on a street in Paris in 1962 as a denunciation of the iron curtain that Christo had escaped .
Until, over time, the idea of wrapping large monuments emerged, the culmination of their obsession with surface and space, the idea that gave them international fame, which led from the Reichstag in Berlin to the London Mastaba.
ARCH OF TRIUMPH
The artist had as a principle only to wrap one monument per city. In Paris he had done it in 1985 on the Pont Neuf, one of the most emblematic on the waters of the Seine.
A good part of the Pompidou exhibition is dedicated to this work, with a large model showing the bridge packed on Christo’s canvases.
But the extraordinary bond he had with the city led him to consider a second project in the capital, much more impressive and emblematic: wrapping the Arc de Triomphe, something that was scheduled for 2020.
“I had thought about it since 1962 and there are even sketches and a photographic montage that show it,” Dupleix explained.
The French authorities gave him the go-ahead to carry it out in 2020, but again fate stood in the way of the artist’s wishes.
Everything was ready, the canvases purchased and the plans prepared by the artist and his team when the outbreak of the pandemic ruined the calendar.
The plans were transferred to the autumn of 2021, but they suffered a setback again with the death of the artist.
“She would have loved to see that work, but I think that carrying it out will be a magnificent tribute to her figure,” said the curator.
By Luis Miguel Pascual
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