As Christo’s swan song L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped becomes a reality, this book details its incredible design
The Taschen tome documents, through sketches, notes, blueprints and photography, the genesis of the artistic duo’s dream to wrap the Parisian monument, which never manifested during their lifetimes.
- Dalia Al-Dujaili
- 15 September 2021
“Fabric is like a second skin,” said Christo before his death. “Even when I obstruct the normal view of things, I am creating something invitational. Using fabric is not like building a brick wall which is by its very nature intimidating or arrogant; fabric is a sensual medium that tantalises us to look beyond it.”
Christo and Jeanne-Claude met in Paris in 1958. Their marriage and artistic relationship would span decades and during this time, they thought up countless wrapping projects. Many of these came to fruition: Wrapped Coast near Sydney in 1968, Wrapped Reichstag in Berlin from 1972–1975, and The Pont Neuf Wrapped in Paris (1975–85). But one did not: the gargantuan project of wrapping the iconic L’Arc de Triomphe.
60 years after their meeting, and after the passing of both Christo and Jeanne-Claude (in 2020 and 2009 respectively), the historic Parisian landmark is currently being wrapped in 25,000 square meters of recyclable silvery blue polypropylene fabric and 3,000 metres of recyclable red polypropylene rope, as per the artists’ request. Their posthumous installation is documented in a new softcover book published by Taschen gathering photography, drawings, and a history of the project’s making.
The publication comes from Lorenza Giovanelli and Wolfgang Volz. Author and first executive director of the Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation, Giovanelli, is an art historian and was the office manager of Christo’s last major project The Floating Piers in 2016. From 2017 to 2020 she worked for Christo in New York, collaborating on several exhibitions and publications about Christo and Jeanne Claude’s art.
You can also view Christo’s work virtually on Snapchat here – just open you Snapchat camera and scan the code.
The photographer Volz, who worked with Christo and Jeanne-Claude as the exclusive photographer of their works since 1971, contributed his photography to the publication. He was also the project director – with Roland Specker – for Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, and, with Josy Kraft, for Wrapped Trees, Switzerland. His close collaboration has resulted in many books and more than 300 exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world.
The couple dreamt up the project whilst renting a little apartment near the monument in 1961. They recorded and planned the project at length, all of which is presented beautifully in the Taschen book. The book includes original sketches, technical data, and exclusive photography, all of which culminate in a behind-the-scenes look at the evolution of this artwork.
The recent Wrapped project was completed by Christo’s team in partnership with the Centre des Monuments Nationaux (CMN), the government institution that manages the Arc de Triomphe, and the support of the city of Paris. L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped is on view for 16 days, from 18 September to 3 October 2021.
The book, Christo and Jeanne-Claude: L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, is published by Taschen.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude: L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped (Copyright © Taschen, 2021)
About the Author
Dalia is a freelance writer, producer and editor based in London. She’s currently the digital editor of Azeema, and the editor-in-chief of The Road to Nowhere Magazine. Previously, she was news writer at It’s Nice That, after graduating in English Literature from The University of Edinburgh.