Christo and Jeanne-Claude at the Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas West), to May 15. 416-979-6648. $12, stu/srs $9. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
Christo and Jeanne-Claude's huge, temporary fabric-based environmental projects demand years of careful planning.
The Gates, currently flapping in NYC's Central Park, was first conceived in 1979. Christo's sketches and collages reveal that the dreams of the famous team come fully formed, leaving the impression that the work emerges as much out of the detailed conception as out of the artists' feats of human organization. Even the names of contractors and the corporate structure of the projects appear embedded as aesthetic details in the various campaigns to string up huge swaths of cloth in public places.
Working together, the couple fund their projects entirely through the sale of the drawings and collages. These works, as well as some photographs of finished projects dating back to 1961, form part of the collection of another avid organizer, W. Galen Weston, king of the Loblaws castle.
Photos include a striking image of the Wrapped Reichstag, the German Parliament in Berlin that the two covered in shiny fabric, and the beautiful Valley Curtain, an enormous orange cloth dam in Colorado's Rifle Gap.
You can follow several of the projects back to the original maps, fabric samples and even lists of who's who in the areas where they were to be realized.
Several collages utilizing fabric, string and glass in combination with rough, muted-colour drawings show the incredible precision with which Christo sees the final installations in various perspectives long before they happen.
The exhibition also includes nine films about the artists, with screenings of each rotated over the duration of the show. Another room offers more large, detailed colour drawings from the 38 fully formed proposals, 19 of which have been realized in the past 44 years.
No plans yet to wrap a Loblaws.