Hidden for visibility
To partially and temporarily cover the public living space in order to emphasise the chosen section: Christo and Jeanne-Claude achieved international fame with this idea and its spectacular realisation. From the 1960s onwards, they realised extraordinary actions that turned the everyday into something special and opened up new perspectives. For example, they covered a strip of coastline in Australia, stretched a curtain through the valley of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, wrapped the Reichstag in Berlin or let saffron-yellow strips of fabric blow across Central Park in New York City. In recent years, the projects "The London Mastaba" and "Floating Piers" caused a sensation: An abstract installation of oil barrels in red, white, blue and purple floated on Serpentine Lake in the shape of a truncated pyramid, modelled on the "mastaba", traditional burial structures of ancient Egyptian culture. For "Floating Piers", Christo connected the Italian Lake Iseo with the mainland by means of floating piers and let the visitors literally walk across the water.
From 18 September to 3 October 2021, a project can now be seen in Paris that also means a farewell: Jeanne-Claude died in 2009, Christo in May last year. The realisation of the grandiose wrapping of the Arc de Triomphe marks the posthumous completion of their life's work, which was characterised by an uncompromising commitment to art. Each project required years, sometimes decades, of preparation and constant wrangling over official permits. The planning for the wrapping of the famous war memorial Arc de Triomphe by the architect Jean-François-Thérèse Chalgrin began as early as 1961. It is already the second project by Christo and Jeanne-Claude in the French capital: in 1985 they wrapped the Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in the city. Now the Arc de Triomphe is being covered with a total of 25,000 square metres of polypropylene fabric in silver-blue, and the work is already as good as complete. As with previous projects, it is planned to distribute free textile samples of the covering to visitors during the duration of the project in order to prevent vandalism of the work of art. At the end of the project, the textile fabric will be industrially recycled, as will the 3,000 metres of rope and 312 tonnes of steel that serve as a substructure to protect the structure. Numerous German companies are involved in the implementation, such as Schlaich Bergermann Partner as concept engineers, Setex-Textil as supplier of the fabrics, as well as Queens of Structure for the steel construction scaffolding on the façade and the fabric and rope technicians from Büro für Leichtbau. The financing is also exceptional: Christo and Jeanne-Claude financed the wrapping of the Arc de Triomphe, like all previous projects, independently of sponsors, solely with their own money from the sale of drawings and models and through bank loans.
"Art is our life", Jeanne-Claude once said. With the wrapping of the Arc de Triomphe, the duo's constant dedication to changing the perception of architecture and landscape in the sense of an art form receives an impressive honour that shines far beyond Paris.
The Arc de Triomphe will be open to the public as usual - daily from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., for the entire duration of the project (installation, exhibition, dismantling).
Pl. Charles de Gaulle
75008 Paris, France