In his early twenties, Christo (Born Christo Javacheff in 1935) escaped the oppressive Communist regime in his native country of Bulgaria and wandered in exile throughout Europe, supporting himself primarily by painting commissioned portraits.
He has related his early wrapped-package works to the isolation and sadness of his coming of age in Bulgaria; the wheelbarrow, in particular, suggests a stateless, nomadic life. The package’s contents are suggested in the forms bulging beneath their cloth wrapping, but never revealed, for opening it would destroy the work.
In 1964, shortly after making Package on Wheelbarrow (1963), Christo relocated to New York. Since then, in partnership with his wife Jeanne-Claude (1935 – 2009) he has created many large-scale, temporary installations, wrapping buildings, bridges, trees and islands in fabric.