“Fabric is like a second skin,” said Bulgarian-born artist Christo. “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.”
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.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude met in Paris in 1958. Christo from Bulgaria and Jeanne-Claude from Morroco. The two artists would eventually marry and form one of the most dynamic artist duos of the 20th century. The duo embarked on countless ‘wrapping’ projects during their collaboration and lifetime together which include Wrapped Coast near Sydney in 1968, Wrapped Reichstag in Berlin from 1972–1975, and The Pont Neuf Wrapped in Paris (1975–85). One, however, did not: the gargantuan project of wrapping the iconic L’Arc de Triomphe.
Despite not being here to witness it – Christo and Jeanne-Claude passed away in 2020 and 2009 respectively – the iconic Parisian landmark is currently under wraps – literally! 25,000 square meters of recyclable silvery blue polypropylene fabric and 3,000 metres of recyclable red polypropylene rope, as per the artists’ request, will adorn the monument later this year. Their posthumous installation is what is documented in this delightful new book published by Taschen gathering photography, drawings, and a history of the project’s making.
Behind the book’s publication is author and first executive director of the Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation, Lorenza Giovanelli and photographer Wolfgang Volz.
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. 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.