I’ve always been a big fan of Christo and Jeanne-Claude. Not only I’m a fan of their contemporary art work, but I’ve also always loved the fact that the two, a couple in real life, have always produced their incredible land art projects as one artist, and not as a duo. Not Christo “with” Jeanne-Claude, but “Christo and Jeanne-Claude”. There’s no Christo without Jeanne-Claude, and vice-versa. A sort of John and Yoko of the environmental and land art. Love it. Love them.
Even if Christo and Jeanne-Claude have been around since the ’60s, I’ve “discovered” them in the early ’90s, as they produced the famous installation “The Umbrella, USA/Japan” and, retrospectively, I went on exploring all the previous works, most notably the wrapped buildings and monuments. But the only time I managed to see one of their works in real life was back in 1995, in New York, with their installation work in Central Park, The Gates. I remember spending days, and also a couple of nights, wandering around the park, following the serpentine pathway The Gates were.
Later on I discovered that Christo and Jeanne Claude have been planning that installation for more than 25 years, and that it was also inspired by the Fushimi-Inari Sanctuary in Kyoto, Japan – something that I personally explored years later (in 2011), and that deeply inspired me too. But that’s another inspiration story I will write about soon.
Just one more word on the (personal) connection I feel between 50 Shades of Green and The Gates. besides of the obvious “gateway” created by the 50 Shades of Green’s tunnel, this is also the very first time I created an artwork using fabrics. Not certainly the kilometers of textiles that Christo and Jeanne-Claude normally use to wrap up everything, from buildings to islands (and more recently also to allow people to walk on waters), but I have to say that my experience in working with full rolls of textiles is getting more and more intriguing as I progress with the project production.
Thank you Christo and Jeanne-Claude for all the inspiration. By the way, I would like to dedicate the 50 Shades of Green project to Jeanne-Claude, who sadly passed away in 2009, almost 10 years ago.