Six decades in the making, the late Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, Paris, 1961-2021, was unveiled over the weekend. In accordance with Christo’s wishes, the artwork was completed by his team in partnership with the Centre des monuments nationaux (CMN) and with the support of the Centre Pompidou and the City of Paris.
Over 1000 workers contributed to the realization of the project, including 95 climbers for unfolding the fabric panels on each of the four facades of the Arc de Triomphe from its rooftop terrace. The facades of the monument are now completely covered.
The project came together with the professional talent and craftsmanship of approximately thirty companies, which include Les Charpentiers de Paris, who were also the builders for the wrapping of the Pont-Neuf in 1985; Réseau Jade, a French company specializing in rope access; the German engineering and design studio Schlaich Bergermann Partner (SBP); and the German membrane engineering company Büro Für Leichtbau.
“Our job is to bring to life Christo’s imagination expressed in his drawings, which we did in this project, creating the fabric and the ropes based on our engineering knowledge” said Jörg Tritthardt, CEO of büro für leichtbau, who previously worked on The Wrapped Reichstag. “Every visual step of the adaptation of his drawings was approved by him, and it's fantastic to realize this project. It’s a gift to each of us.”
The Arc de Triomphe monument is wrapped in 25,000 square meters of recyclable silvery blue polypropylene fabric and 3,000 meters of recyclable red polypropylene rope. The public project is entirely funded through the sale of original works of art by Christo, including preparatory studies and collages, models, artworks from the 1950s and 1960s and lithographs.
The Eternal Flame, in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arc de Triomphe, will continue to burn throughout set-up and dismantling, and during the display of the artwork.