There were tears of joy in September 2021 when, for 16 days, the Arc de Triomphe in Place Charles De Gaulle was completely wrapped in 2500 m of silvery blue recyclable polypropylene, and secured with 3000 m of red rope. The project “L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, Paris, 1961-2021” has finally been realized. A dream born in Paris in 1961, where Christo and Jeanne-Cluade met for the first time and began their activity as contemporary artists.
From 13 June 2022 to 12 February 2023, 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT hosts the exhibition “Christo and Jeanne- Claude – L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped”. This explores the design and production process that led to the completion of this work by following an itinerary that traces the life of Christo and Jeanne-Claude through their main works and revealing the background of their original artistic method.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude were born on the same day, the same year, June 13, 1935, he in Bulgaria and she in Morocco. Destiny led them to Paris, where they met in the fall of 1958, starting their creative collaboration that would last a lifetime. After moving to New York in 1964, they will jointly carry out various large-scale projects around the world. After Jeanne-Claude’s death in 2009, Christo continued to work on behalf of both, finalizing some of the projects he and Jeanne-Claude had conceived together. “L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped” is one of them. It should have seen the light in 2020, it has been postponed due to the pandemic. Christo died in May 2020 without being able to see his work done. But thanks to the commitment of his team, the project was finally completed in 2021, sixty years after it was conceived.
The exhibition is carried out in full cooperation with the Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation, led by Vladimir Yavachev. Using the Foundation’s rich archive material, film director Pascal Roulin cinematically recreates “L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped”, giving visitors an innovative experience.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude had collaborators ready to support their vision for never-before-seen projects. With this team, they have managed to move forward with determination facing and overcoming many difficulties to complete this long-term project. Positive thinking has propelled them towards the realization of their dreams, and it should encourage us all whenever we find ourselves in difficult situations.