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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

The Arc de Triomphe in Paris wrapped in plastic. A project by Christo, the late Bulgarian artist

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An unusual sight was seen by Parisians and tourists walking on the Champs Elysees in the French capital on Sunday. A dozen or so employees started wrapping the Arc de Triomphe with silver and blue polypropylene foil.

Workers bustled around the 50-meter-high 19th-century Arc de Triomphe, placing 25,000 square meters of silver-blue recyclable plastic on top of it. The completed installation will be available for viewing from September 18 to October 3, Reuters reported in a Sunday message.


The work of the deceased artist

The packaging for the Arc de Triomphe is a project by the Bulgarian artist Christo, who died last year, and his wife, also artist Jeanne-Claude (Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon), who died in 2009. The idea was born in the 1960s. It was supposed to be implemented in 2020, but the work was then prevented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Triumphal arch YOAN VALAT / PAP / EPA

Christo’s nephew, Vladimir Javashev, decided to implement the project. – The biggest challenge for me is that Christo is not here. I miss his enthusiasm, criticism, energy and all those things, he told Reuters.

The cost of the project is EUR 14 million.

Who was Christo?

Bulgarian artist Christo – his real name was Christo Vladimirov Yavashev – spent part of his life in Paris and New York. Amazing installations made him famous all over the world. He “wrapped” buildings and famous places, including the coastal strip in Australia, the parliament building in Berlin, part of the Grand Canyon, Pont Neuf bridge in Paris. On the projects, he worked closely with his wife Jeanne-Claude, whom he met in 1958.

Triumphal arch YOAN VALAT / PAP / EPA

The Parisian Arc de Triomphe, wrapped in foil, including its observation deck, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier located underneath the structure, will still be available to visitors.

Main photo source: YOAN VALAT / PAP / EPA

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