Even though both artists have passed away – Christo just over a year ago and Jeanne-Claude more than twelve – they continue to create magic: on 18th September, one of their oldest ideas, L’Arc de Triomphe empaqueté, was inaugurated in Paris. As early as 1962, observing Napoleon’s monumental arch from their first apartment in Paris on Avenue Foch, the two artists imagined wrapping it up – and a splendid photomontage from that year reminds us of this.
The work today, developed over the decades, remains faithful in concept to that first image: 25 thousand square metres of blue and silver recyclable polypropylene drapes are held together, covering the monument, by 3 thousand metres of red rope.
This thought by Christo and Jeanne-Claude is a veil that unveils, that restores life to the ancient monument, brings it back – and in a way for the first time – to the collective attention: “The veil restores the essence” Jeanne-Claude stated in 1997.
The work, which was due to be completed last spring, then postponed due to the pandemic, was completed by Christo’s collaborators, together with a group of volunteers, led and supervised by the artist’s nephew Vladimir Yavachev.