When thinking of quintessential artist couples, a number immediately comes to mind: Stieglitz and O’Keefe, Moore and Gordon, Ray and Charles Eames, Sagmeister and Walsh, Bernd and Hilla Becher. And of course, Christo (1935) and Jeanne-Claude (1935): despite initial resistance from the contemporary art scene, the French-Bulgarian duo gradually attained international status thanks to their ambitious, temporary appropriation of land-mark buildings, monuments and public places. Strong advocates for finite, temporary installations and grand, immediately impactful aesthetics; the duo carried out numerous large-scale architectural gestures, exoticising the familiar and re-imagining the expected. ING Art Centre are visiting Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s impressive career for this year’s expansive exhibition, and we handpick five unavoidable points for the occasion.
Following on from last year’s celebration of the legacy of abstract contemporary art and the Guggenheim institute, ING Art Centre is looking towards notorious artist couple Christo and Jeanne-Claude for their 2017 grand-scale exhibition. It’s the couple’s first retrospective exhibition of their extensive career – ranging from the swinging sixties to the early noughties – since the 1980’s. An event that’s only made more pertinent, with the unfortunate passing away of Jeanne-Claude in 2009. A chance of a lifetime.
As such, ING are curating a spectacular overview of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s long-spanning career. Expect an impressive displayment of around 80 original works – regardless of whether they were actually executed or not – through the use of in situ models, photographs courtesy of their unofficial resident photographer Wolfgang Volz, initial and final sketches, and collages. From celebrated projects, like The Gates in New York City, to the lesser-known, like their early Wall of Oil Barrels; ING will be highlighting the couple’s artistic evolution and aesthetic crystallisation, shedding some light on their lives, works and philosophies.
To accompany the static visuals, ING will be bringing the couple’s oeuvres to life with special screenings on select nights. Despite largely working exclusively with the photographer Wolfgang Volz, Christo and Jeanne-Claude were also filmed by the Maysles Brothers for a handful of documentary films. ING will be specifically screening Christo in Paris and Umbrellas – beautiful executions of direct cinema from the emblematic documentary film-making duo, already renowned for their Grey Gardens and Gimme Shelter films.
Plenty of other goodies to be found in the Urban Projects exhibition, too. From guided tours held twice a month, to a signing session in the presence of Christo, ING have got all corners covered. Make sure to move fast to get these much-coveted spots.
The pièce de résistance will undoubtedly be Christo’s lecture, however. Held on the eve of the 23rd of October at Flagey’s Studio 4, ING will be presenting Christo and Jeanne-Claude: The Floating Piers, Lake Iseo, Italy, 2014-16 and work in progress, The Mastabe, Project for Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Evidently, Christo will be matching the duo’s restrospective overview with a presentation of more recent works – specifically, projects which were drafted with his partner, but never saw the light of day until after her untimely death. Christo is carrying on their vision for grand, visually impressive and controversial public art, for which we can only be thankful of.
Wide range of tickets available: from free of charge to €10 ing.be/art about.ing.be christojeanneclaude.net