Wrapped Woman (Project of Pennsylvania), 1968

Since 1958, Christo in collaboration with his wife Jeanne-Claude, transferring “everyday objects” into works of art, brings him close to the Nouveau Réalisme of the early 1960s. Art was there to be liberated from its lofty status and made part of the everyday world. Christo and Jeanne Claude have used landscapes or urban spaces and made them into a unique event in the limited time for which they exist. In parallel with his temporary public projects, Christo creates numerous drawings, collages and scale models that serve as preparatory work for their ephemeral works of art, and also serve to document them. The revenue from selling these materials serves to finance their open-air artwork implementations, which are generally demanding and expensive. They also play a major role in the aesthetic and technical development process, bearing witness to various stages in the artworks’ conception and to possible variants and implementation. In the case of Christo’s Wrapped Women temporary sculptures, certain fundamental aspects that are latently inherent in the act of “wrapping” are revealed in a particularly explicit way. Revelation through concealment, spirituality and mysticism, the simultaneous veiling and emphasizing of the form, and fetishizing. The act of ›Wrapping‹ a female body in front of the an audience may awaken associations with abuse and coercion, but also – more positively – may evoke an impression of protection, of a mantle. Other significant aspects include the act of ‘conservation’, and questions of property and of ownership status. Finally, there are the expectations attached to the opening up of the packing. Wrapped Woman (Project for Pennsylvania) is a preparatory drawing for the presentation of a living ‘sculpture’ at the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia in September 1968.

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