Christ, it is difficult for them to sit here with us? They are otherwise the whole day.
True. I have no chairs in my Studio. I’m not so fond of.
Sitting is boring, you have said time.
A chair is a anxiety for me. I have immediately the feeling to be lazy. I’d rather walk back and forth, I can think better.
still, you can’t keep?
I’m always in motion. To have my Studio up, it is 90 levels, I run 15 to 20 Times a day up and down.
you are 83 years old. Don’t tell me you make Sport?
For heaven’s sake, no. Imagine, I would break my Hand. With the art, it would be over immediately. I do stretching exercises with my Russian physiotherapist Alexei every two days, an hour and a half, until the joints crack. For 30 years, he comes to me.
you need to shave twice a day. And you eat for decades, every Morning, raw garlic with yogurt. The rituals that you need for your art?
I don’t make a big thing out of it. I eat during the day, just nothing. I feel lighter, full of energy. With a full stomach you will get tired. And the garlic protects me from diseases. I had a cold in my whole life, almost never. I’ll take my California garlic even in your suitcase on trips.
you still have to work every day like a man possessed. Where does this restlessness?
The art of me.
you don’t Think in the morning after Waking up sometimes: Not in the mood, today I stay in bed?
I like to sleep, naked and in a big bed, so that I can move in all directions undisturbed. Nevertheless, you want to work, I always. I like to work, often until late into the night. It was like that when Jeanne-Claude was still alive, We loved to work together. And we never needed a vacation. Sometimes we went on the weekend in New York to the movies. That was enough.
you have been for 51 years a Couple of: Christo and Jeanne-Claude (1935-2009)
you don’t like it to be a wrapping artist.
O no, not at all.
Because it is not my art. It is a gross simplification. The works of art are very different. The Umbrellas in Japan and California, no packaging, the Gates in Central Park in New York and the Floating Piers on the lake Iseo in Italy. Packaged I’ve been a long time since the Pont Neuf in Paris and the Reichstag in Berlin. Together, the projects have only one: I work with fabrics and materials. They underline the fragile, transitory character of the works of art.
Everything you create is dismantled, the materials will be recycled, the buildings and landscapes in their original condition. Nothing remains.
This is the beauty of it.
you won’t Miss any of your artistic Work?
you are not gone, they live on in the memories of those who were there and the art have seen works. Apart from that, we have documented our projects are very comprehensive. The wrapped Reichstag, there are more than 650 drawings.
How does this actually started with the Cover and packaging?
That was in the early ‘ 60s. I covered the surfaces and objects with various materials, with plastic wrap, with materials. I have Packed everyday things and objects: magazines, phones, chairs, cans, barrels, even a VW beetle. I wanted to hide the intricacies of the objects, only their basic proportions. This gives you something Sublime, Sculptural.
your art romantic looks. But it is the result of hands-on work, or?
I love the physical work of it. I like to walk for miles with the Wind in your face, I like the cold, the heat. This is what makes my art so unique. It is nothing for a comfortable corner in a Museum, where it smells good, too. Outside, day and night, is true art.
Big, bigger, Christo: in 1991, he and his wife, Jeanne-Claude of 3,100 umbrellas in Japan and the United States on
you will work with engineers, artisans, divers, surveyors, lawyers. were You need to convince authorities and governments, environmental organizations, Cowboys, and Japanese rice farmers.
I’m not a Masochist. I wish sometimes it would be less complicated. But the battle for each project is part of the art itself. It makes the soul of the work.
In the seventies, in the preparation of the Running Fence in California, you had to convince every Single one of the 59 Farmer, on whose Land the fence was, from the sense of the project.
A remained stubborn. Paul Gaver. At the location of the fence was interrupted for a short time. The Gaver-Cap. The biggest challenge was the Umbrellas, a project whose implementation lasted from 1984 to 1991. In Japan, we had to do it with 469 rice farmers, the youngest was 61 years old, the oldest 93. All we needed approval. The screens should be on their Land. We drank thousands of cups of green tea during the talks with the farmers. On the other hand, the Japanese have a very distinctive aesthetic sensibility. Your first question was: Why are your umbrellas yellow and blue? The first question in the United States: What the project will cost, who pays for it?
the realization of The Floating Piers took from the first idea to 46 years old. The Reichstag Of 24 Years. The Gates 26 Years. Never doubt?
When we start a project we never know how it turns out. There, the two big books over there, on the table: sketches, reports, planning studies for the project Over the River in Colorado. Over 4000 pages, 20 years of work, $ 15 million investment – for a work of art that will never give up. I wanted to the Arkansas river with a silver-coloured fabric span. I’ve cancelled the project in 2017. Had lost interest in it.
What are the properties you need, in spite of strong resistance for decades? Perseverance? Stubbornness? Bossiness?
you must feel free. Free from fear. Free of dependence. Free from foreign interests. I asked me always. No one could ever talk. Our art is not for sale. No one can seize. The three tenors wanted to sing in front of the wrapped Reichstag. We have rejected. We wanted to not Show. We had in our projects always have absolute freedom. Have paid for everything out of their own pocket.
in 2016, stressed Christ walkways over the lake Iseo
The Reichstag cost $ 13 million, the Gates 21 million dollars, the Floating pier 15 million dollars. Where did you get all that money?
each Time, It is difficult to million. We have established in the 60s, the Christo Vladimirov Javacheff Corporation. This company buys and sells our art and our projects. It ensures that the money is flowing.
you can buy your own art?
Our art is our capital. It also serves as a security for Bank loans, which we record in the case of large projects. I buy sometimes even original works by me. Some time ago I purchased one of my collages of the Running Fence for $ 30,000 and 220,000 dollars to Japan. Although I have studied Marxism, but knows exactly how capitalism works.
is it True that you can get an annual salary?
Yes. As an employee of the CVJ Corporation. $ 25,000 in the year. If I need more, I can always sell my works of art. You belong to me, not the company.
What is a Christo costs today?
depends on how many drawings I’ve done of the project, when they come, how big they are. Look, there is a large Collage from the Reichstag: $ 800,000.
Still, they say, their art is useless and superfluous.
My art is free, I don’t have to justify myself to you. Of course, the world could exist without a fence through the middle of the Californian landscape. It is unnecessary and irrational. He existed only because Jeanne-Claude and I wanted to see him. An artist can not be prevented from doing useless things.
Why so many people are hooked on the world of their works?
you are not thrilled.
Now you flirt.
It’s more than pure enthusiasm. Many people feel that our works of art as a deeply human. They are interwoven with the world in which we live. The people see and experience something that will give it so never again. It remains unique. I’ll never pack again, another bridge called Pont Neuf.
the wrapped Reichstag in Berlin, Was your biggest Triumph? Around five million people made the pilgrimage there.
In such categories, I think. The project was a great trip, it was wonderful. A little bit of Drama.
Yes, a bit. In the course of over 20 years, the project has been rejected three times: in 1977, 1981, 1987. They have negotiated with six different Federal President.
beginning in 1994, should fall in the Bundestag in Bonn, the final decision. On the eve I was sitting in Bonn at the Hotel and was on the phone with Jeanne-Claude in New York. She was sure that we would lose. I was in despair. It is the most exhausting hours of my life. The next Morning the decision. I was sitting in the visitors ‘ gallery of the Bundestag, had the translation button in the ear and I couldn’t believe it when I heard the result of the vote.
Helmut Kohl, the then Chancellor, had been, for sure, that the project would fail.
He was our peskiest antagonist.
Have you spoken with him?
We have tried many times to meet him. He has always rejected. But Wolfgang Schäuble, has received Jeanne-Claude and me, and in excellent French explains why he could the project do not support. Very fair.
The tone with his assistants, is rough, but warm, cuts him with scissors on a regular basis the eyelashes. He does a lot of meetings, through Meeting with rich collectors and the Authorities. The intimate documentary, “Christ Walking On Water” shows the artist at work on the “Floating Piers” that had to be stopped in 2016 due to the Traffic almost.
As it was, they had wrapped up the Reichstag in June 1995, they were allowed to leave the Hotel in Berlin with bullet-proof vests.
On our floor in the Hotel there was a security breach, such as at an airport. The Federal government had informed us that there were threats from the extreme Right. Jeanne-Claude had such fear of assassination, that we drove in the Charité and our own blood is donated, for the case of an emergency.
you have just announced to cover in April 2023, a significant building with fabric: the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Why the arc de Triomphe?
When I came in 1958, as a young man to Paris, I hit myself with portrait drawings of prominent people. I lived Triomphe in a small room in the vicinity of the Arc de. The monument has fascinated me. In 1962, I Packed it in a photo montage. I no longer believed in the realization of the project. The French President has made it now possible. It is sad that Jeanne-Claude may not live to see this.
you keep mentioning your wife Jeanne-Claude. They were the most successful artists in the world. As it is, if you have to continue alone?
For me it is still there. I meet them all the time. They each project a presence. It is and remains our art.
nine years Ago, she died suddenly. Never thought to stop working?
Never. Jeanne-Claude always said: artists retire, you die. We knew that if one of us makes the other one more.
they Go to her grave?
There is no grave. She wanted none. I don’t want no grave. It’s not about human Remains. There is so much more. We were together for 51 years.
you have often argued and yelled, and still, it went well?
We had a fight about art and important things, never about the little things. It went well because we worked together. Jeanne-Claude was my sternest critic. You could be nice and loud. Passionate. She was the daughter of a General, you need to know. A wild Lady.
your last big project to be the Mastaba in Abu Dhabi. A pyramid made from 410,000 different colored oil Barrels in the middle of the desert. Cost: about $ 300 million. For the first Time you need financial assistance. You still don’t have enough?
It’s not me. In the project we have been working for over 40 years. It is our biggest and longest adventure. Very complicated.
It will be the largest sculpture in the world.
Larger than the Cheops pyramid. It takes three years to build. You will look like a staircase into the sky.
you Build the Mastaba?
no. You should remain standing.
A project for eternity?
It will be the Only thing that remains of us.