Christo’s ambitious monumental project for Paris, Arc de Triomphe wrapped, is underway following the late artist’s instructions and will be unveiled to the public for 16 days next month, from September 18 to October 3.
Three crews work around the clock to prepare the emblematic, 50-meter-high, 19th-century Parisian monument.
Currently, the arch is surrounded by cranes, scaffolding and protective equipment to ensure the condition of the masonry and sculptures during the wrapping process, requiring 270,000 square feet of recyclable, silver-and-blue polypropylene fabric and nearly 10,000 feet of red rope.
Six decades in the making
The enclosure of the world-famous, neoclassical monument is a tribute to the late artist couple Christo and Jeanne-Claude, who dreamed for decades about the project.
“It will be like a living object stimulated by the wind and reflecting the light,” as Christo described his dream project. “The folds will move and the surface of the monument will be sensual. People want to touch the Arc de Triomphe. ”
Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude specialized in creating this kind of spectacular, monumental and fleeting art installations in public spaces. The Triumphal Arch wrapped becomes a reality 60 years after the artists invented it.
“I never thought it would ever happen,” Christo said during one of his last interviews while under covid-19 isolation not long before his death from natural causes at the age of 84 in May 2020. “But I “I want you to know that many of these projects can be built without me. Everything is already written.”
Jeanne-Claude died in 2009.
According to the story, Christo first made a photomontage of the Arc de Triomphe wrapped in the project in 1962-63, when he and his French wife, Jeanne-Claude, rented a small room near the monument. He made a collage of it in 1988.
The idea was revived in 2017 and was approved by National Monument Center, the French government institution managing the Arc de Triomphe, with the aim of inaugurating it in 2020.
A posthumous tribute
In 2020, the Center Pompidou, which was a partner in the project, presented the exhibition Christo and Jeanne-Claude. Paris !, which rediscovered the couple’s year in Paris from 1958 to 1964, as well as the story of “Pont Neuf wrapped up,” another of their Paris projects in 1985.
“We can carry out this project without him today because they have already worked out all the visual and artistic aspects of it,” Christo’s nephew Vladimir Javacheff told The guardian. “This project is 100% Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s project. It was his wish and we just realize his vision. ”
A life of wrapping
Christo and Jeanne-Claude started wrapping monuments around the world in the 1960s, including the Wrapped Coast in Sydney in 1968-69, the Valley Curtain in Colorado in 1970-72, the Biscayne Bay Surrounded Islands in Miami in 1980-83, the entire Reichstag in Berlin in 1995, Central Park Gates in 2005, The Floating Piers in Lake Iseo, Italy, in 2014-16, London Mastaba and Hyde Park in London, 2016-2018.
“Christo was born on June 13, 1935 in Gabrovo, Bulgaria,” according to the Foundation’s biography. He left in 1956, first for Prague, Czechoslovakia, and then fled to Vienna, Austria, in 1957 and to Geneva, Switzerland. In 1958, Christo went to Paris, where he met Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon, not only his wife, but life partner in the creation of monumental environmental works. “
As planned by the artists, it costs € 14 million to install L‘Triumphal arch wrapped has been completely self-financed by the Christos Foundation thanks to the sale of his preparatory studies, drawings and collages of the project, original models, works from the 1950s and 60s and original lithographs dedicated to other subjects.