The artist duo Christo and Jeanne-Claude wrapped the Reichstag, the Pont Neuf trees and a stretch of coastline in shimmering fabric; installed saffron-colored gateways through Central Park and a running fence near San Francisco; hung curtains across a Colorado valley and wrapped a series of islands in Florida in luminous pink.
In April 2020, the Bulgarian artist known for such monumental, hard-to-classify projects will realize a project he had dreamed of with Jeanne-Claude (who passed away in 2009) back in 1962. In parallel with an exhibition at the Pompidou Center next year focusing on his Parisian years, the city’s triumphal arch, recently vandalized by the “yellow vests,” will be briefly transformed.
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. At the time, Christo, who was renting a small room near the Arc de Triomphe, made several studies of a project there, including, in 1962, a photomontage of the Arc de Triomphe wrapped, seen from the Avenue Foch. In the 1970s and 1980s, Christo created a few additional studies. Almost 60 years later, the project will finally be concretized.
To create his work L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped (Project for Paris, Place de l’Étoile-Charles de Gaulle,) Christo, working in close collaboration with the Centre Pompidou and the Centre des monuments nationaux, will wrap the monument in 25,000 square meters of recyclable polypropylene fabric in silvery blue, and 7,000 meters of red rope. This ephemeral work will be on display from Monday, April 6, to Sunday, April 19, 2020. The arch will be wrapped in 25,000 square meters of recyclable polypropylene fabric in silvery blue, and 7,000 meters of red rope.Its realization will coincide with a major exhibition at the Pompidou from March 18 to June 15, 2020, retracing Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s years in Paris from 1958 to 1964, as well as the story of The Pont-Neuf Wrapped, Project for Paris, 1975-85.
As with all of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s projects, the work will be entirely funded by Christo through the sale of his preparatory studies, drawings and collages of the project as well as scale models, works from the 1950s and 1960s and original lithographs on other subjects.
Throughout the entire period when the artwork is on display as well as during its preparation, the space beneath the Arc de Triomphe – where the holy flagstone lies and where since 1923 the Eternal Flame has burned in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier -, will be fully maintained, as will the daily ritual of rekindling the flame and of paying homage to the Unknown Soldier.
“Thirty-five years after Jeanne-Claude and I wrapped the Pont-Neuf, I am eager to work in Paris again to realize our project for the Arc de Triomphe,” says Christo.