World-renowned and controversial 'environmental artist' Christo Javachef, known professionally as simply Christo, was born in Gabrovo, Bulgaria, in 1935. He studied sculpture and stage design at the Sofia academy of fine arts from 1952 to 1956, and spent a semester at the Vienna 'Kunstakademie', where he was introduced to the Russian Constructivism movement. Moving to Paris in 1958, Christo produced his first "packages" and wrapped objects: chairs, stacks of magazines, bundles of everyday items.
1961 hailed the beginning of Christo's large-scale projects, at the occasion of his first solo-exhibition, wherein he stacked oil drums that he'd covered with tarpaulin and tied together with ropes at the Cologne harbor ('Stacked Oil Drums'). After 1968 his projects took on environmentally large-scale proportions, such as wrapped buildings, including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and a wrapped one-mile stretch of Australian coastline. Since the 1990s Christo has been working together with his wife, using the name 'Christo and Jeanne-Claude'. In 1994 they received the German parliament's approval for a project to wrap the Reichstag building, which they subsequently realized between June 23 and July 8, 1995. Since 1992 they had planned their installation 'The Gates' in Central Park, New York, which they finally realized in 2005. For Christo and Jeanne-Claude the preparation period of the projects is part of their work, considering aesthetic aspects to be important than the technical possibilities. The couple exclusively financed their projects through donations and the sale of sketches in order to remain independent from sponsors and the public authorities.