Hundreds of square meters of recycled polypropylene fabric in silvery blue color began to be unfolded, this Sunday (12), on one side of the Arc de Triomphe, starting the final stage of the operation of wrapping the Parisian monument, a posthumous work of the artist Christo.
From September 18th to October 3rd, the youth dream of the Bulgarian artist and his wife, Jeanne-Claude, will come true: the 50-metre high monument will be entirely covered with 25,000 m² of fabric, tied together by 3,000 meters of red rope, like a gift package.
Preparations began in late June and are continuing at full speed under the direction of Vladimir Yavachev, Christo’s nephew, with support from the Center for National Monuments in France.
“It will be like a living object that will come to life with the wind and reflect light,” explained Christo when presenting his final project, two years before his death.
At a cost of 14 million euros (R$ 86.7 million), the project is fully self-financed with the sale of original works by Christo: preparatory drawings, souvenirs, models and lithographs.
In 1985, Christo had already packed the Pont-Neuf, one of the Parisian bridges that cross the Seine river.
This time, after weeks of preparation, a team of 95 rope specialists unrolled the first piece of fabric from the top of the Arc de Triomphe on the side facing Wagram Avenue.
The packaging process will continue day and night until it is ready on September 18, the opening day.
“Today is one of the most spectacular moments of the installation. The wrapped Arc de Triomphe is beginning to come to life and is approaching the vision of what was a lifetime dream for Christo and Jeanne-Claude,” commented Yavachev, in overseeing the project.
For Bruno Cordeau, administrator of Arco do Triunfo, “following the installation of a work like this, under the current circumstances, is magical”.
“Pont-Neuf’s packaging was an unusual moment. That’s what we’re going to experience here once again. We’ve made sure that the Arc de Triomphe is properly protected, mainly because the monument is still open to the public,” added Cordeau.
The artist Christo in front of The London Mastaba project, in Hyde Park, London, in an image taken in June 2018 — Photo: REUTERS/Simon Dawson/Archive
“The Arc de Triomphe is not a monument like the others. It is one of national harmony. It is also a place of culture. Christo’s work has the elegance and humility of being ephemeral. After two weeks, it will disappear” , underlines the administrator of Arco, who associated the Flame Committee and ex-combatants to the project.
In addition to the consequences of the pandemic, the project was postponed due to the presence of nests of birds that have been living for a long time in Arco.
See below a 2020 report on the life and work of the artist Christo
The Bulgarian artist Christo dies at the age of 84