It is with deep regret and profound sadness that we announce the passing of our friend Christophe E. Bouchet. After a long illness, Christophe fell asleep peacefully in his studio on February 1st.
Christophe was born in 1959 in St. Aignan-sur-Cher in France, almost deaf. Despite all adversities, he studied at the École supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Toulouse, the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux and the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris, among others. He visited Berlin on a study trip. Fascinated and shocked by the divided, gloomy city, he decided to live there.
Since 1984 he has undertaken – together with world-famous artists such as Keith Haring or his friends Thierry Noir and Kiddy Citny – sometimes angry, creative attacks against the monstrous “anti-fascist protective wall” of the ‘workers and peasants state’, which is now gray history. He often lived like a homeless person in abandoned houses, used sheets as canvas or painted on old tabletops. When he and Thierry Noir screwed a urinal and a washbasin to the wall as a “homage to Marcel Duchamp”, he put himself in great danger and made street art history. The photos of the GDR border troops, who were so provoked by a door attached to the wall and a piece of graffiti that they dismantled them and dragged them to the east with ladders, are now legendary.
Many years later, these photos of the GDR border guards are a popular Berlin postcard motives for cheerful tourists, but they guarded the death strip of a dictatorship. As a pioneer of wall art and street art, Christophe was the first to drill holes in the wall. He and his friends Noir and Citny started the revolution with paint and brush that brought Germany together. They took away the wall’s power (actually there were two walls and in between those was the “death strip”) and people’s fear. That was brave and wild.
Today, works of art by the Berlin Wall artists can be found in museums all over the world, pieces of the Berlin Wall are for example in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Bouchet’s wall paintings below the Brandenburg Gate adorn postcards and are sent by tourists around the world.
Established after many years in poverty – Bouchet, who often traveled back and forth between Berlin, Düsseldorf and his studio in the train station in Chenonceau, France – created colorful, striking paintings and sculptures. He still called his work: “Revolution with color”. As a sought-after artist, he had a major exhibition in 2007 at the Max Planck Institute in Greifswald. Among other things, the actor Roger Moore acquired one of his paintings while visiting Berlin. His colorful art often moves between German history and the French way of life. His last exhibition took place in 2019 on the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. As part of a benefit project, he painted a wall for the Catholic primary school in Düsseldorf-Niederkassel together with his artist friend Thierry Noir. The children greeted Christophe happily in the schoolyard and stood enthusiastically in line for autographs. These pictures are unforgettable for us.
We lost a dear friend, a person full of kindness and humor who liked to slip into the role of Santa Claus and generously handed out gifts at celebrations, a cat lover, cosmopolitan, free spirit, gourmet, a generous donor for good causes, a painter who was always looking for closeness to people and giving people joy with his art even in dark days – never arrogant, always communicative and humorous, despite his hearing impairment.
You will live on in your art and in our hearts.
Christophe, au revoir!
We ask fans and friends in the dark days of the corona pandemic to remember Christophe, his strength and courage and his desire for love, understanding and unity between people.
“We all belong together”, that is what Christophe Bouchet always said and that is true.
Photographers: Stephane Verment & Nermin Noir