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疯狂梦想终于成真:被包裹的巴黎凯旋门 The Arc de Triomphe is wrapped in fabric, a vision six decades in the making

中国日报网 2021-09-18 14:33




Sixty years after Christo and Jeanne-Claude first conceptualized the project, the Arc de Triomphe has been wrapped. Credit: Benjamin Loyseau/Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation


After three months of construction work at Paris' famed Arc de Triomphe, the 160-foot-tall war monument has been completely concealed. The landmark, built during Napoleon's reign, has been outfitted in 270,000 square feet of silver-blue polypropylene fabric bound with red ropes.



Encasing the Arc de Triomphe in cloth was a longstanding vision of the late artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude -- one that finally came into focus this summer. It began with 400 tons of steel beams erected like a metal jacket around the structure, followed by the wrapping, which was conducted by a team of climbers over the course of a few days. Following the project's completion on Thursday, the arch will remain transformed for just 16 days.



The unveiling of the installation, officially titled "L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped," comes 60 years after Christo first became enthralled with the idea of wrapping the monument, more than a decade after Jeanne-Claude's death and over a year since Christo passed away last May. Originally scheduled for spring 2020, the project was first delayed out of concern for nesting kestrel falcons in the arch, and then because of the ongoing pandemic.



Vladimir Yavachev, Christo's nephew and the project's director of operations who worked with the artist for 30 years, explained that the shimmering color of the fabric and vivid ropes are Christo's "poetic interpretation" of the blue, white and red of the French flag.



"He liked colors that also change with the weather, or the time of day," Yavachev said in a video interview, adding: "The fabric is very reminiscent of Paris rooftops... which are very silvery gray."



Christo and Jeanne-Claude wrapped The Pont Neuf in Paris in 1985. Together, they used textiles to transform different environments and interrupt the everyday at a grand scale. Credit: Wolfgang Volz/Courtesy Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation


The married artists became internationally renowned for ambitious projects like "The Pont Neuf Wrapped," revealed in 1985, and "Wrapped Reichstag" in Berlin 10 years later.



Christo said the only project he would consider in Paris was wrapping the Arc. In an interview with CNN just before his death, however, he confided that he "never believed" they would receive permission.



Christo in his studio in New York City with a preparatory drawing for "L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped" in 2019. Credit: Wolfgang Volz/Courtesy Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation


"I am an artist who is totally irrational, totally irresponsible, completely free," Christo said. "Nobody needs my projects," he added. "The world can live without these projects. But I need them and my friends (do)."



Anne Burghartz, an engineer on the project, said her team's first task was to interpret the final form that Christo wanted. "In his drawings, you can see the shape is not 100% the Arc de Triomphe," she said in a video interview. "It's very boxy, it has vertical lines, whereas the Arc de Triomphe at the cornices, for example, is very pointy-shaped."



They also had to determine how to keep the wind from dragging the fabric, while keeping it pliable to the elements. "(Christo) was also very fond of how he imagined the fabric would come alive with the wind," she said.



Though machinery and advanced technology were used in the planning and installation of the protective steel beams, a team of climbers carried out the wrapping. Credit: Wolfgang Volz/Courtesy Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation


But, most importantly, Burghartz's team had to protect the monument and all of its ornamentation, from the sculpted figures flanking each side of the entrance to the intricate cornices. Though the engineers had permission to drill some holes in the landmark they had to minimize damage. So, they installed wood panels between the steel and the arch's concrete to protect it from scratches and built frameworks around its sculptures to keep them safe.



In total, the project cost around 14 million euros. But like all of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's projects, the "L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped" will, according to a spokesperson for the project, be entirely funded through the sale of preparatory drawings and other original artworks. Sotheby's Paris is hosting an exhibition and private sale featuring 25 of the artworks, with proceed going towards the project and the artists' foundation.





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