Christo and Jeanne-Claude: The Early Years
An interview by Matthias Koddenberg
On 31 May 2020, Christo passed away at the age of 84. His last project, the wrapping of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, will be implemented posthumously in the fall of 2021. Currently, a major exhibition at PalaisPopulaire in Berlin is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the wrapping of the Reichstag, while the Pompidou Center is paying tribute to Christo and Jeanne-Claude with a comprehensive show highlighting their early years in Paris.
Shortly before Christo’s death, Matthias Koddenberg, art historian and longtime friend of both Christo and his wife and artistic partner Jeanne-Claude, who passed away in 2009, edited an extensive collection of interviews in close collaboration with the artist. The book is composed of many conversations which the author conducted with Christo in the artist’s New York studio over the last years.
In these interviews, Christo describes with rare frankness how he fled his native Bulgaria and made his way into the Western world. He talks about his time in Vienna and Geneva, his vibrant life in Paris that was also full of hardship, and the fateful moment when he met Jeanne-Claude.
This publication unites texts and numerous archival images and photographs, many of which have never been published before or depict early works by Christo that have only recently been rediscovered.