book with “Corriere” –


On Saturday, May 21, the second volume of the series dedicated to the heroes of contemporary art will appear on newsstands along with the newspaper.

If Banksy showed that we can get excited by walking on the wall, Christo gave us the emotions of walking on the waters of Lake Iseo. It was June 18, 2016, when Christo (to whom Corriere della Sera is dedicated the second monograph from the series “Contemporary Art – Protagonists” by Flaminio Gualdoni) cut the installation tape floating piers, a network of orange-leafed piers three kilometers long that connected Sulzano with Monte Isola. Since that day, a million and a half people have marched in procession with cars, trains, buses and makeshift vehicles, forever jammed in traffic, to be able to stroll across the lake.

Was it art, entertainment or territory marketing? There is no point in asking; art is the continuation of life by other means, and one of its purposes may be to give “a quarter of an hour of happiness” through the revelation of an unknown world; it was a walk on the water.

After studying at the Sofia Academy of Fine Arts (he was a Bulgarian and his name was Hristo Yavashev) and fleeing Prague from the communist bloc regime, Hristo crossed Austria, Switzerland and France, starting to work after New realism. Before packing natural phenomena or monuments, 1962 Christo and Jeanne-Claude, his wife, who disappeared in 2009 before him (he died on May 31, 2020), blocked the Rue Visconti in Paris. with a wall of oil barrels. Since 1964, when they moved to the United States, the vast expanses of the American frontier have made them open their eyes to life’s ventures: Earth was the best territory for artistic adventure, and some of the artists featured in the exhibition in October 1968 became their companions. Excavation hosted by Robert Smithson such as Michael Heizer, Walter De Maria, Robert Smithson, Dennis Oppenheim and other land art protagonists.

However, Christo, along with Yves Klein, Jean Tinguely, Cesar, Spoerri and others, had previously joined New realism and in 1970, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of this movement, whose manifesto was signed by Pier Restany in Milan, the municipality of Ambrosiana commissioned him pack the monument to Vittorio Emanuele II in Piazza Duomo. Using elementary technology, the statue was packed for the misty morning of November 24th. It was wrapped with a polypropylene fabric tied with a red rope: the fabric was pre-assembled according to a pattern with large folds.

As soon as the Milanese saw the installation, controversy broke out: letters and phone calls of indignation reached the newspapers, forcing the authorities to quickly turn around. The work lasted only one day: On the 25th, a decision had already been made to unpack the “gentleman king”. However, not all critics were convinced. On November 26, Dino Buzzati wrote in Corriere about the lack of irony in taking up the defense of Christo. Who was assigned a similar job a few meters away. In fact, it was decided to allow the artist to pack a monument to Leonardo da Vinci and the disciples in Piazza della Scala.

Christo always worked in tandem with his wife Jeanne-Claude: he was mainly the artist of the works (the drawings are always signed by him), and Jeanne-Claude was the organizer. Between 1972 and 1976 they made running fence, a continuous fence stretching east-west for nearly forty kilometers between some slopes in the California countryside north of San Francisco. It was wide a white nylon tarp hanging from a steel cable supported by more than two thousand metal poles which, when viewed from above, writhed like a snake: the vertical white contrasted with the ocher of the earth, creating a symbolic wall that swelled in the wind. Then they filled the Reichstag, the Pont Neuf, the Spoleto Market Fountain, the Port of Pinchiana…

what from package this is a typical postmodern expression, this is the creation of a shell, a mask. But Christo has almost the opposite effect: the act of concealment. Action on the territory, the emphasis on the – almost engineering – process of doing work, testifies, as the critic Robert Morris explained, to overcoming the notion that “work is an irreversible process, ending with a static icon object” to be delivered to history. In Christo’s land art, the eighteenth-century theme of the natural and artificial Sublime reappears. as an alternative to Beauty and in a radical opposition to artificiality, the iconic creations of pop art. In environmental art, there is a mutual exchange between the work and the context: how much the environment creates art. Christo reinvents average in the dimension of relative Aesthetics, that expanded Art (definition given by Mario Perniola) that went beyond all the boundaries of the traditional concept of art.

Series: other editions

The journey into the universe of contemporary art, “marked” by monographs edited by the historian and art critic Flaminio Gualdoni, continues on Saturday, May 21, with Hristo Yavashev, also known as Christo (Gabrovo, Bulgaria, 1935 – New York 2020) (on newsstands every Saturday with “Corriere della Sera” for 8.90 euros plus the price of the newspaper). Thus, after the first date dedicated to Banksy, it was the turn of the Bulgarian artist, famous for his constant search (for him and his wife and muse Jeanne-Claude, 1935-2009) for monumentality, which in many cases turned into a grandiose packaging of symbolic buildings, such as the Kunsthalle in Berne (1968), monument to Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan (1970); Porta Pinciana in Rome (1974), Reichstag in Berlin (1995), Arc de Triomphe in Paris, last completed (opening) in October 2021. After Christo, Maurizio Cattelan (May 28), Jeff Koons (June 4), Bill Viola (June 11), Gerhard Richter (June 18), Arnaldo Pomodoro (June 25), Giulio Paolini (July 2), Marina Abramovic (9 July).

May 20, 2022 (modified May 20, 2022 | 9:55 PM)

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