Arc de Triomphe sheds silver wrapper as Christo and Jeanne-Claude installation ends

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That’s a wrap: on October 4, workers began to dismantle the large-scale art installation by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, which entirely wrapped the Paris landmark in 25,000 square metres of silvery-blue fabric.

The installation by the late artist couple, who conceived the project in 1961, saw the 50-metre-high Arc de Triomphe covered in recyclable polypropylene for two and a half weeks – at a cost of €14 million.

The duo wrapped several major public works during their lifetime, including the oldest bridge in Paris in 1985 and the German parliament in 1995. Jeanne-Claude died in 2009, and Christo in May last year.

The completion of their vision for the French capital's iconic Arc was overseen by their nephew Vladimir Javacheff, in coordination with the Pompidou museum and French authorities.

"It was a crazy dream and you have accomplished it, Vladimir. We give you infinite thanks," said French President Emmanuel Macron when he inaugurated the artwork on September 16.

French Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot called it "a posthumous testament to an artistic genius" and "a wonderful gift to Parisians, to the French, and to all art-lovers."

Not everyone welcomed the project.

Architect Carlo Ratti, a friend of Christo, wrote that it was wrong to waste so much fabric at a time when the fashion industry was responsible for such high levels of carbon emissions.

Javacheff countered that the entire fabric was recyclable, along with half the metal used for scaffolding.

For Christo and Jeanne-Claude, who left sketches and photo montages of their plans, the vision was that the Arc would become "like a living object stimulated by the wind and reflecting the light".

The monument was built by Napoleon to commemorate fallen soldiers during his military campaigns.

It was recently restored after being defaced by anti-government "Yellow Vest" protesters in December 2018.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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