The materials used in Christo and Jeanne Claude’s monumental artwork Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped (1961-2021) are to be recycled, the organisers have said.
“The fabric and ropes will be recycled into shade structures, tents for our next major events in Paris, particularly the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games,” Paris mayor Anne Hildago said. “This is a fine example of the art world’s ability to adapt to climate challenges,” she added.
“Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped (1961-2021)” was a monumental art installation conceived by the renowned Bulgarian-born artist Christo Vladimirov Javacheff, known simply as Christo, and his partner Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon. This ambitious project aimed to temporarily transform Paris’s most iconic landmark, the Arc de Triomphe, by wrapping its façade and internal spaces with a silvery-blue fabric and red rope.
The idea for this project was initially conceived by Christo and Jeanne-Claude in 1961. They worked extensively on the preparation and planning for the project, which included gaining the necessary permissions and permits from various authorities and organisations in France. Unfortunately, the project faced numerous challenges and delays over the years.
Tragically, Jeanne-Claude passed away in 2009, but Christo continued to pursue their artistic vision as a tribute to her and their shared creative legacy. After many decades of planning and preparation, the “Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped” project was realised from September 18 to October 3, 2021, as a posthumous tribute to Christo, who passed away in 2020.
The installation involved draping the Arc de Triomphe in 25,000 square meters of recyclable polypropylene fabric and 3,000 meters of red rope. The material, which was a silvery-blue colour, shimmered in the Parisian light, creating a visually striking contrast against the historic monument’s stone façade. It transformed the familiar landmark into a temporary work of art, drawing the attention of Parisians and visitors alike.
“Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped (1961-2021)” was a testament to Christo and Jeanne-Claude’sJeanne-Claude’s commitment to the concept of “environmental art,” which involved altering and interacting with the built environment to create new aesthetic and emotional experiences. Like many of their other large-scale installations, this project aimed to challenge perceptions of familiar landmarks and encourage viewers to see them in a new light.
The temporary transformation of the Arc de Triomphe into a wrapped masterpiece served as a powerful symbol of artistic freedom and creative expression. It was a significant moment in contemporary art history, paying tribute to the enduring impact of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s artistic vision on the world’s most iconic landmarks.
Photo: James Payne © Artlyst 2023