Bulgarian-born artist who wrapped buildings and landmarks dies at 84

Bulgarian-born artist Christo, best known for wrapping buildings and famous landmarks in fabric or plastic, has died at his home in New York, aged 84.

He passed away of natural causes on Sunday, according to a statement posted on the artist’s official Facebook page.

Christo, who always worked with his wife Jeanne-Claude, famously covered the Reichstag in Berlin and the Pont-Neuf in Paris with reams of cloth.

His artworks “brought people together” around the world, the statement says.

“Christo lived his life to the fullest, not only dreaming up what seemed impossible, but realising it,” it reads, adding that the couple’s art “lives on in our hearts and memories”.

A 2016 installation entitled The Floating Piers consisted of 100,000 sq m of bright yellow fabric floating on polyethylene cubes on Lake Iseo, in Sulzano, Italy.

In 2018, a Christo artwork – his first major outdoor piece to appear in the UK – was unveiled at the Serpentine in London’s Hyde Park. The London Mastaba was a colourful sculpture in the shape of a trapezoid and made from more than 7,500 200-litre barrels stacked together, displayed on a floating platform.

Born Christo Vladimirov Javacheff in Gabrovo, Bulgaria, in 1935, he spent time in Austria and Switzerland before moving to France, where he met Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon in Paris.

Along with transforming large-scale landmarks, the couple also created monumental environmental works of art together in natural settings, before Jeanne-Claude’s death in 2009, aged 74.

An unfinished project in Paris entitled L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped is planned to be completed and exhibited in September 2021, in accordance with Christo’s wishes.

“We borrow space and create gentle disturbances for a few days,” Christo once said.

Sunday’s statement concludes: “In a 1958 letter Christo wrote, ‘Beauty, science and art will always triumph’. We hold those words closely today.”