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Paris’ Arc De Triomphe Leaves Visitors Disenchanted With ‘Wrapped’ Installation
By Mikelle Leow, 17 Sep 2021
Video screenshot via Arc de Triomphe’s Instagram highlights
The Arc de Triomphe, a historical stone monument constructed in honor of those who fought and died for the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, recently took on a different appearance as part of a temporary installation. This time, it has been swathed in a metallic, recyclable plastic curtain.
The display was set up in the vision of late Bulgarian-born artist Christo, who requested for the project to resume after his death. Entitled L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, it is covered in 25,000 square meters (almost 270,000 square feet) of recyclable polypropylene and secured by 3,000 meters (9,842 feet) of red rope.
Christo, who had personally financed the installation, wanted to bring more temporary works of art into public areas. He began on sketches for L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped as early on as 1962 and developed the project in 2017. While the arch is unyielding, the setup is always moving, as the wind pushes the soft exterior into a flowing motion.
The artist died in 2020, and his nephew, Vladimir Yavachev, carried on with the work, finally materializing the artwork almost six decades later.
However, tourists who came to see the majestic structure on the Champs-Élysées avenue, including first-timers, walked away in disillusion, Reuters reported.
According to the news outlet, one Dutch visitor likened the fabric covering to “toilet paper,” while a British tourist expressed confusion about whether the artwork was complete or was still in the works.
“My husband had never seen [the Arc de Triomphe] and so I just made him walk two miles,” one Colorado visitor said. “He’s not very happy about it.”
According to the monument’s representatives, the installation has been scheduled for a 16-day run and will stay up until October 3, 2021.
The triumphal arch, a symbol of French victory, took 30 years to complete since the first stone was laid in 1806. It aptly stands near the finish line for the Tour de France, as well as serves as a backdrop for the annual military parade.
[via Reuters, images via various sources]
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