Paris’ one of the city’s most famous monuments is, quite literally, under wraps for the next few weeks.
Giants sheets of fabric have been draped down the Arc de Triomphe monument in Paris in tribute to a late artist’s unfulfilled dream.
Announced earlier this summer, the artwork entails involves 270,000 square feet of fabric and 23,000 feet of red rope and took nearly 12 weeks to complete.
L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, a temporary artwork for Paris, will be on view for 16 days from Saturday, September 18 to Sunday, October 3, 2021.
The idea was first imagined by artist Christo, who died last year, and his late wife and collaborator Jeanne-Claude. Known for wrapping famous landmarks in fabric, Christo had dreamed of sheathing the 50m-high monument since renting a nearby apartment in the 1960s.
In 1961, three years after they met in Paris, Christo and Jeanne-Claude began creating works of art in public spaces. One of their projects was to wrap a public building. When he arrived in Paris, Christo rented a small room near the Arc de Triomphe and had been attracted by the monument ever since. In 1962, he made a photomontage of the Arc de Triomphe wrapped, seen from the Avenue Foch and, in 1988, a collage. 60 years later, the project will finally be concretized.
Christo, who wrapped the Reichstag in Berlin, left minutely detailed drawings and instructions covering every visual and artistic aspect of how he wanted the wrapped arch to look.
In the last creation from late artist Christo, the Arc de Triomphe has been covered in reams of silvery-blue fabric in an installation appropriately titled, “Wrapped.” The project was supposed to go ahead in the fall of 2020 but was delayed due to the pandemic.
Christo, whose full name was Christo Javacheff, was born in 1935 in Bulgaria. He moved to Paris in 1958 and began experimenting with wrapping objects in fabric and rope, creating captivating installations. He died of natural causes at his home in New York in May 2020.