Wait, Why Was The Arc de Triomphe Wrapped In Fabric?

Earlier this month, the Arc de Triomphe was wrapped in iridescent fabric, fulfilling a posthumous dream of the creators.

Photo: Benjamin Loyseau (Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation)

Sixty years after it was first conceptualised, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris was temporarily turned into an art installation. In 1961, Christo and Jean Claude had dreamt about the installation, but it was only in 2017 when Christo fully conceptualised the art. With their unfortunate death in 2020, the installation was carried out by their team. The Centre des Monuments Nationaux, Centre Pompidou, and the City of Paris were also heavily involved in the creation.

The duo are known for wrapping famous buildings around the world, and even natural landmarks like Little Bay in Sydney. The Arc was wrapped in polypropylene, a recyclable thermoplastic, and tied down with red rope. Jean Claude also wanted the material to move, as it would bounce light around and encourage onlookers to touch it.

Photo: Lubri

The installation was solely funded by the pair through sales of their original work, as a testament towards retaining artistic freedom. Christo stated,

“I won’t give a millimetre of my freedom [away] and [have others] damage my art.”

The roundabout surrounding the Arc was temporarily closed to allow passers-by to appreciate the art up close. The installation was only up for 16 days but gained much attention and praise.

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