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The “Arc de Triomphe emaqueté”, Christo's posthumous work

The “Arc de Triomphe emaqueté”, Christo's posthumous work

by Giulia De Sanctis

Inaugurated on September 18 2021 and visible until October 3 2021, entering the terrace of the monument, the "Arc de Triomphe empaqueté" is the posthumous work of recently disappeared artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, both of whom have marked the history of contemporary art. It is one of the most famous and scenic projects of Christo, the undisputed father of Land Art and the "packaging" of iconic architecture and monuments is its stylistic signature. Covered with 25,000 square meters of recyclable fabric in silver polypropylene - blue and 3000 meters of red recyclable ropes, the preparatory work of the Arc de Triomphe began in July with the assembly of the scaffolding from which, Sunday, September 12, the first polypropylene drapes encircling the Napoleonic Arch have been developed. As the artist’s intentions dictate, the visitor can interact with the shimmering fabric that covers the entire Arch, touch it but also trample on it. The idea of the project was born in the early '60s when both Christo and his wife Jeanne Claude lived in Paris and only in 2019 the artist, shortly before he died, had managed to obtain permission for the coverage of the Arc de Triomphe and wanted to "sign" in Paris his last work, after the radical act of 1985 when he packed the Pont-Neuf on the Seine.

The packaged Arc de Triomphe is "like a living object that will come alive in the wind reflecting light. The folds will move, the surface of the monument will become sensual" explained Christo presenting the project. "He wanted to complete this project. He made us promise that we would do it," says Christo’s nephew Vladimir Yavachev, curator of the exhibition. The EUR 14 million project is financed through the sale of preparatory studies, drawings, scale models and other works by Christo and the installation was planned for last autumn but was delayed by the pandemic from Covid-19.

After graduating from language high school, love for art led Giulia De Sanctis (Turin, 1998) to obtain Communication and Enhancement of Artistic Heritage’ degree at the Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti in Turin. She collaborated with art galleries in Turin as an assistant, dealing with the cataloging of the works, the preparation of exhibitions and the press office. She collaborates actively with various magazines and web publications of the art sector.