PSUAD features international artist Christo
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A lecture and screening of the movie ‘Value of art’

13PSUAD hosted the international plastic artist Christo Javacheff to deliver a lecture about his creative and artistic journey, and to present his artistic works and achievements to PSUAD students, faculty and a large number of arts and designs experts and aficionados. During the lecture, a short movie titled ‘The Value of Art’, produced by Sky Art and Cambridge university, was screened.

Christo is known for his groundbreaking experience manifested through more than 50 years of environmental art production. His career in plastic art was exceptional and he became one of the greatest figures of contemporary art, in the various movements like cubism, abstract art and impressionism. He created giant art works alongside his late wife Jeanne Claude.

During the lecture, Christo spoke of his unique creative experience, and touched on some of the major milestones of his long artistic career that extended over a period of more than 50 years, rich in artistic creativity and excellent initiatives aiming at preserving the environment.

Christo expressed his extreme happiness every time he visits the UAE and Abu Dhabi in particular, where he can witness the artistic and cultural renaissance that has positioned it among the great countries giving attention to art and creativity. He explained that over the last three decades, he was able to “create a large and diverse collection of massive works that extend on many kilometers. Each work required many years to be completed, some needing 10 or even 20 years. Those works were completed with the contribution of hundreds of engineers and specialists.

Christo presented a number of works including the wrapping of rural and urban sites using prefabricated material that was manufactured specifically with certain characteristics to implement these huge structures made of steel, Polypropylene and ropes. He noted that these huge creations are spread like islands in the middle of the city and modern buildings, such as the Biscayne Bay in Miami, Florida. He used 6.5 million square feet of textile around 11 islands. He worked on the structure between 1980 and 1983. Another example is Le pont Neuf in Paris, where he used 400 000 square feet of polyamide textile fixed with steel and ropes; as well as the parachute project that was presented in Japan and the US between 1984 and 1991. He used 1760 yellow parachutes in the project in California, US and 1340 blue parachutes in Japan. Each parachute was as big as a two-story house.

14Christo shed light on some extraordinary projects like Wrapped, on the parliament building, the Reichstag in Berlin. He completed the project between 1971 and 1995. He used one million square foot of reflective aluminum, sufficient to cover 14 football fields. He also used recycled material that was re-used in new contexts such as isolation and storage. He also presented his giant project ‘Orange Curtain’ which is 381 meters long and 11 meters high in the Colorado valley, in the USA. He also has a huge structure titled Big Air Package, the project is a huge balloon that was wrapped and fixed in the air. Its base included a Gasometer. Once fixed, the balloon was transformed into an exhibition hall for highly popular pieces.

Prof. Eric Fouache, Vice chancellor of PSUAD, for his part, emphasized that the PSUAD, in line with its strategic plan, focuses on all scientific and humanities fields, and hosts a number of experts in an attempt to transfer their rich experiences to the students. These are a good opportunity for students to interact with world figures. He noted that Christo’s visit to the University was a good opportunity to share artistic experiences with both students and faculty as well as those interested in art and creativity, which have an important place in today’s world.

Students and the audience were able to hold an open discussion with Christo about the works he is currently working on, namely the large project he is implementing in Abu Dhabi, the Mastaba, which is a large structure in the shape of a pyramid. It simulates the largest pyramid in Al Giza. Its roof will be made entirely of oil barrels made of un-rustable steel, painted in loud colors reminiscent of the Islamic ceramics. The colors will take on different shades of color depending on the time of the day, the weather, and lighting. Viewers looking at the structure will have a variable and rich visual experience.

Christo Javacheff is an American of Bulgarian origins. He is a leader in environmental plastic art. He designed huge temporary artistic projects in collaboration with his wife Jeanne Claude. He aims, through his works, to reach the largest numbers of viewers, including those who aren’t usually interested in art. Instead of exhibition halls, his work is exhibited outdoors, in urban centers or their proximity.