Hundreds of people gathered despite the torrential rain on Paris’ Place Charles de Gaulle / Etoile to see for the last time the Packed Arc de Triomphe.
A year after the death of the world-famous artist Hristo Yavashev – Christo, what he had dreamed of for 60 years came true – to realize his project for packaging the monument, emblematic of France. Today is the last day on which the residents and guests of the French capital can enjoy this work of art. Access to the installation is possible only with a covid certificate and is free, except for the interior and the terrace of the Arc de Triomphe, for which the Center for National Monuments always requires a fee. Especially for the occasion, the roundabout on Etoile Square was closed for traffic during the past three weekends.
The art installation has been available for the last 16 days. More than 3,000 meters of red rope, 25,000 square meters of silver-blue polypropylene fabric and 312 tons of steel were used to cover the arch. The work on the production and installation of this work of art has been going on around the clock under the direction of Christo’s nephew, Vladimir Yavashev, for a little over 3 months. A team of 220 engineers, construction workers and climbers was involved.
The packaged Arc de Triomphe “will be alive, revived by the wind and reflect light. The folds will move, the surface of the monument will become sensitive. People will want to touch it,” Christo said some time ago when he presented the project.
This is the first work of art realized after the death of Christo, who passed away last year. The total value of the project is 14 million euros, and the financing is entirely from sales of original works of the Bulgarian-born artist.
The idea for this art installation overshadowed Christo and his companion in life and art Jean-Claude back in 1961, when the two lived near Etoile Square. They even made a photomontage of the Packed Arc de Triomphe, but did not take concrete action to implement the project. This is more than half a century before their dream comes true, and when it does, they are no longer alive.
Among the two most famous works of the two artists are the packaged Reichstag in Berlin since 1995 and the quays of Lake Iseo in Italy since 2016. Christo and Jean-Claude still have one big unrealized project – the construction of a giant pyramid of 410,000 barrels in the desert of the United Arab Emirates.