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  • Writer's pictureIna

London Hidden Gems: Early Christo Works in Derelict Time Capsule at 4 Princelet Street

Only a few days left to discover Christo art's hidden past at Spitalfields' most unique, unusual venue. Imagine stepping into an early eighteenth-century Georgian house. The creaking floorboards and peeling wallpaper tell a tale of yesteryears, but what truly takes your breath away are the early works of Christo, hidden away in this derelict wonderland at 4 Princelet Street. It's an experience that defies conventions and offers a unique chance to witness the birth of an artistic legend. The exhibition will remain open every day from October 6 to 22.

Exterior view, 4 Princelet Street, London E1 6QH (Photo: Lucy Dawkins Courtesy Gagosian)

A Journey into Time and Art:

4 Princelet Street is no ordinary building; it's a piece of living history. Its walls have witnessed centuries of stories, and now they hold another: the early artistic journey of Christo. As you step through the time-worn threshold, you're transported to an era when Christo was just beginning to shape his artistic identity.

The Unveiling of Early Works:

In the dimly lit rooms of this historic townhouse, Christo's early works take center stage. Before the grandeur of "The Gates" or "Wrapped Reichstag," Christo delved into the world of sketches and smaller-scale projects. These pieces reveal his first steps towards his signature use of fabric in art, a journey that would eventually redefine the art world.

A Surreal Fabric Fantasy:

The exhibition showcases Christo's unique experimentation with fabric. It's a surreal journey into a world where the delicate interplay of light and fabric creates an otherworldly ambiance. It's a place where the ethereal meets the tangible, and you're invited to explore this captivating blend of textures and ideas.

Where Past and Present Collide:

This exhibition is more than just an art show; it's a journey where past and present collide in a stunning display of creativity. The decaying walls and ancient architecture of 4 Princelet Street create a backdrop that juxtaposes the enduring quality of great art with the transience of time.

"I was l’étranger, the foreigner, I was a refugee, I was stateless. I felt i was all the time l’étranger, and still today in New York I am l’étranger." (Christo, Cahiers d'Art, 2020)

The dialogue between Christo's early creations from the 1960s and 1970s with a Grade II–listed Georgian house in London’s East End links his ideas of movement, migration, and preservation with the house's tumultuous history.

Installation view of Christo J-C's Wrapped Shoes, 1962. (Photo: Ina/WithinLondon)

Christo was a political refugee; an eternal wanderer who bravely escaped Stalin-era Bulgaria to relocate to Prague, Vienna, Paris, Geneva, and eventually New York. Constructed in 1723 to house the UK’s first refugees—Huguenot migrants, the property has been home to successive migrant families, including Jews from the Netherlands, Eastern European Jews, Irish linen workers, and members of Spitalfields’ large Bangladeshi community.

A Truly Unique Experience:

What sets this exhibition apart is its immersive experience. It's not your typical art gallery; it's an adventure that invites you to become part of the art and the history. It's a chance to engage your senses and immerse yourself in the essence of Christo's early works.

Installation view of Christo, Dolly (1964)
Installation view of Christo, Dolly,1964. (Photo: Ina/WithinLondon)

About Your Visit:

  • Check Availability: Due to the delicate nature of the building, the exhibition may have limited openings. Make sure to check the schedule.

  • Embrace the Atmosphere: Walk through each room slowly, allowing yourself to absorb the art and the atmosphere. It's a journey that's meant to be savored.

  • Keep the exhibition guide: it doubles as a large-size poster of the facade of the building.

More to come:

This is the inaugural project in the Gagosian Open series of ambitious off-site presentations sited beyond the walls of the gallery. Art lovers will get to experience remarkable artworks in unusual contexts.

Don't miss your unique opportunity to experience this captivating blend of history and creativity. It's a journey that promises to leave an indelible mark on your artistic soul.


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