Christo (B. 1935)
Empaquetage d'un paire de chausseres de femme dans cadre (Wrapped Pair of Women's Shoes in a Frame)
signed and dated 'Christo 62' (lower right)
shoes and socks wrapped in plastic and string, mounted in artist's frame
9 x 11¾in. (23 x 30cm.)
Executed in 1962
Galleria La Salita, Rome.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2004.
Rome, Galleria La Salita, Christo, 1963.
Turin, Galleria Gian Enzo Sperone, Christo, 1964.
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Lot Essay

As its title implies, Christo’s 1962 work Empaquetage d’une paire de chaussure de femme dans un cadre (Wrapped Pair of Women’s Shoes in a Frame) displays a bemusing – and amusing – construction of shoes and socks, wrapped in brown industrial plastic tied with string and placed in a strikingly disjunctive antique gilded frame. Comical in its literalism, this early work exemplifies the artist’s iconic practice of wrapping objects from the everyday to the monumental. Celebrated as a ‘revelation through concealment’, Christo’s work explores the transformative effect of packaging familiar items, rendering them strange by revoking their utilitarian function to create purely aesthetic, and enigmatic, artworks (D. Bourdon, quoted in J. Baal-Teshuva, Christo & Jeanne-Claude, New York, 2001, p. 16). In this work, the overflowing folds and pleats are at once reminiscent of the draped sculptures of antiquity, and the erotically charged and dreamlike paintings of the Surrealists. Uncontained and primal, the bulging package protrudes out of its frame, suggesting a satirical commentary on the confinements of so-called ‘high-art’ and traditional oil painting. Comprising of semi-translucent plastic, coarse string, silky chiffon and smooth leather on a scarcely visible burgundy backdrop, all held precariously within an intricately carved yet weathered frame, the work evokes a seductive tactile quality, alluring in its raw and visceral immediacy.
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