“ZEITmagazin”: Artist Christo talks about his escape from Bulgaria

Written by on April 3, 2017 in Leisure - Comments Off on “ZEITmagazin”: Artist Christo talks about his escape from Bulgaria

The artist Christo, whose original name is Hristo Yavashev, is one of the most famous Bulgarians on the planet. His art installations, such as the “Wrapped Reichstag” in Berlin, the “Floating Piers” or the “Surrounded Islands” were admired by millions.

In a short interview with the German publication “ZEITmagazin”, the 81-year-old Christo talked about details regarding his escape from communist Bulgaria and how he was saved. He said he had studied at the Academy of Arts in Sofia until 1956. During a visit in Prague, for which he had taken along a student I.D. card only, he had decided to “never return to this silly (communist) Bulgaria”. At that time, the national uprising in Hungary had begun. Along with hundreds of thousands of people, he had headed west, Christo said.

The artist also explained how he survived in Prague by selling painted portraits. With a group of Czech doctors, he boarded a freight train to Austria on a cold day in January of 1957. Christo said, his group had worried about being found and arrested. For the duration of the trip, nobody had said a word for that reason. Once the train had finally reached Austria, they had knocked on the waggon door from the inside, since it had been sealed. Once he made it to Vienna, a friend of his father helped him.

Christo also stated, the death of his wife Jeanne-Claude in 2009 had been the most difficult moment in his life. He had never thought that she would die before him.

Christo was born in Gabrovo and has been living in New York City since 1964.

The full interview (in German) can be found here.

 

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Imanuel Marcus, the founder of foreignersandfriends.com, is Associate Editor of The Sofia Globe.