Exhibiting Artists:

Christo Early Works

Between 1964 and 1967 Christo created a series of architectural scale sculptures in the shape of store fronts. They were an extension of the 1962 Show Cases and the 1963 Show Windows. Unlike his previous works he used both the inner space and the outer space.

In commercial store fronts the exterior facade is made for interior display. In Christo's Store Fronts, the life size glass windows are partially covered, on the inside surface of the glass, with either fabric, paint or wrapping paper, therefore not allowing the standing or walking viewer to see the inside space, but still wonder about the content of the inside space which is illuminated and slightly visible. The use of inner/outer space became evident in Christo and Jeanne-Claude's temporary environmental works of art such as: The Umbrellas, Japan-USA 1984-91, in The Gates, Central Park, New York, 1979-2005, and in the artwork in progress Over The River, Project for the Arkansas River in Colorado which was started in 1992.

Before actually building a life-size Store Front, Christo always made preparatory sketches, collages, drawings and scale models. The last one in the Store Fronts series was the Corridor Store Front, 1967. which covered a surface of 1,500 square feet.

The showcases mark a decisive shift in Christo's development. They led to the store fronts and architectural scale, freeing him from dependency on preexistent objects and enabling him to package invented shapes and empty spaces of any size he wanted.... ...Like facades on a movie set, the store-front sculptures have real architectural scale without being real buildings. The perversity of having an architectural exterior displayed indoors is compounded by the enigmatically draped windows.... ...Although doors can admit symbolic interpretation, Christo's locked entrances remind us that we are shut out on our side of his store fronts. Throughout the ages, windows have held a special fascination for painters, because they provide spatial and temporal cross-references between indoor and outdoor settings and activities. In addition to contributing formal complexity, windows have a psychological quality that invites symbolic use.

From Christo by David Bourdon.

Harry N. Abrams Publications, New York, 1970


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