Conceptual duo Christo and Jeanne-Claude are universally known for their large and enigmatic site-specific works and are widely acknowledged as the great masters of environmental art. For over 48 years the dynamic pair worked together to reimagine and modify landscapes across the globe from Australian harbours and Japanese inland valleys to the Berlin Reichstag by temporarily wrapping them in coloured cloth. Contributing to the collective memory of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s oeuvres are Christo’s sketches which go beyond the notion of preliminary designs for the artists to become works of art in their own right. Executed in 1979, The Pont Neuf, Wrapped (Project for Paris) is an exquisite visual record of the temporary covering of the most iconic bridge of Paris in a silk-like polyamide golden dress.
Le Pont Neuf stands as the oldest bridge of Paris, taking a central part in Parisian culture for centuries. Its birth spanned over three decades and was rooted in political unrest and religious turmoil at the turn of the Sixteenth Century. By draping the landmark, Christo and Jeanne-Claude appear to be using the cultural and historical association of the bridge to comment on the political unrest France suffered during the 1960s and 1970s. The wrapping itself becomes a metaphor for healing and re-building society together through art. Furthermore, by exploring Le Pont Neuf, Christo and Jeanne-Claude enter the long standing list of artists including Tuner, Renoir and Picasso who have used the Parisian bridge as artistic inspiration.
The use of a public space and drapery allows the viewer to interact with the piece from different angles and perspectives transforming the sight of Le Pont Neuf into an unfamiliar and new structure. Jeanne-Claude and Christo’s works are temporary but the memories often remain for decades. The present lot is a testament to the ephemeral installation that illuminated Paris for fourteen days in 1985, revealing unique views of Paris and its historical identity.
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