Christo and Jeanne-Claude

International Award “Lorenzo il Magnifico” for Lifetime Achievement 2005

The presence of Christo & Jeanne-Claude at the V edition of the Florence Biennale, where they were presented with the Award “Lorenzo il Magnifico” for Lifetime Achievement, was greeted enthusiastically. Both the public and the participating artists enjoyed the conference given by the artist and accompanied by projections that illustrated their fascinating and complex work.

Christo Vladimirov Yavachev and Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon became some of the most important and famous contemporary artists thanks to work that addressed environmental issues and to their collaboration with several urban projects. Husband and wife were both born on June 13th 1935: Christo in Bulgaria and Jeanne-Claude in Morocco. They met in Paris in 1958, and were married there that same year. Since 1961 they have been the authors of various installations in Europe, Asia, Australia, and the United States.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude are considered, perhaps wrongly, to be some of the most important representatives of the art movement called Land Art, and, more specifically,

they are regarded as the founders of the art of wrapping. The defining characteristic of their art is the use of cloth to ‘wrap’ different kinds of elements, from chairs and tables to cars and even entire buildings or open spaces.

The way in which they obtain financing for their projects is just as innovative as their art: in order to maintain their artistic and intellectual independence, Christo and Jeane-Claude have never accepted financial contributions or sponsors. The expenses for their installations are supported by the proceeds from the sale of Christo’s art works, especially his preparatory designs and miniature models.

Among their recent creations, are Surrounded Islands (1983), for which the islands in the bays of Biscayne and Miami were encircled by belts of fuchsia polypropylene, the packaging of the Pont Neuf in Paris (1985) and of the Reichstag in Berlin (1995), and The Gates (2005), a 37km itinerary through New York’s Central park.