This month marks the two-year anniversary of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s monumental public artwork, L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, 1961–2021, unveiled on September 18th, 2021 to the amazement of Parisians and visitors from around the world.
During its 16-day lifespan, 6 million people viewed the work and more than half a billion experienced it through media sources, contributing to the radiance of post-pandemic Paris. The project made possible thanks to a dedicated team under the direction of Vladimir Yavachev, is now in its final phase of being repurposed in collaboration with global environmental organization Parley for the Oceans.
A constant commitment of Christo and Jeanne-Claude was to reuse, upcycle, and recycle all materials used in their projects.
We are now going to give L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped a second life with the help of our creative partners. I can think of nothing more fitting than recycling this artwork for future use in Paris, a city so influential on the lives and work of Christo and Jeanne-Claude. It has been an honor to work closely with Mayor Hidalgo and Paris City Hall throughout the lifecycle of this project, including reimagined, practical uses for public events ahead.said Vladimir Yavachev, project director of L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped.
Two years after the installation of the ephemeral work of art L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, I am delighted that our collaboration with the Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation is continuing, giving a second life to the materials used for this extraordinary project
Thanks to the organization Parley for the Oceans, whom I’d like to thank most warmly, the fabric and ropes will be recycled into shade structures, tents or barnums for our next major events in Paris, in particular the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. This is a very fine example of the art world’s ability to adapt to climate challenges.acknowledged Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris.
As done for past projects by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, all of the materials used to create L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped are being reused, upcycled, and recycled. The wood and steel used for the project’s substructures have already been reused by Les Charpentiers de Paris, ArcelorMittal and Derichebourg Environnement respectively. The 25,000 square meters (269,098 square feet) of silvery blue polypropylene fabric and 3,000 meters (9,843 feet) of red polypropylene rope have been processed by Parley for the Oceans and the materials are now moving into the design and production phase.
This recycling effort is made possible with the help of Parley for the Oceans and its partners.
When visiting Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped two years ago in Paris, I saw a flag of rebellion. An encouragement that seemingly impossible ideas can become a reality, if we pursue them without bending, without giving up and by staying positive and optimistic. The ropes, the fabric of the artwork are testament of the true superpower we humans possess: Imagination. We will create tent structures that are designed to protect human life against dangerous heat waves. And to supercharge our hearts and our minds for the epic challenge ahead of us. I know it for sure, together we can create a new economy where harmful, toxic and exploitative business practices are a relic of the past.said Cyrill Gutsch, Founder and CEO of Parley for the Oceans.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude were born on the same day: June 13, 1935; he in Gabrovo, Bulgaria, and she in Casablanca, Morocco. Jeanne-Claude passed away in 2009, and Christo died in 2020, both in New York City, where they had moved in 1964. Christo and Jeanne-Claude realized monumental projects around the world, including Wrapped Coast, One Million Square Feet, Little Bay, Sydney, 1968–69; Running Fence, Sonoma and Marin Counties, California, 1972–76; Surrounded Islands, Biscayne Bay, Greater Miami, Florida, 1980–83; The Pont Neuf Wrapped, Paris, 1975–85; The Umbrellas, Japan– USA, 1984–91; Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, 1971–95; The Gates, Central Park, New York City, 1979–2005; The Floating Piers, Lake Iseo, Italy, 2014–16; The London Mastaba, Serpentine Lake, Hyde Park, 2016–18; and L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, Paris, 1961–2021.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude worked together since their first outdoor temporary work of art: Stacked Oil Barrels and Dockside Packages, Cologne Harbor, Germany, 1961. Before he escaped to the West, Christo studied painting, sculpture, architecture, and decorative arts at the National Academy of Art in Sofia for four years. All early works, such as Wrapped Cans, Wrapped Oil Barrels, Packages, Wrapped Objects, and Store Fronts, as well as all preparatory drawings, collages, and scale models are works by Christo only. All public projects and indoor installations, both realized and unrealized, are collaborative works by Christo and Jeanne-Claude.
Parley for the Oceans is a global environmental organization and network where creators, thinkers and leaders come together to raise awareness for the beauty and fragility of our oceans and collaborate on projects that can end their destruction. Parley takes action to protect our oceans, Earth’s largest and most vital ecosystem, with an approach led by creativity, collaboration and eco-innovation. Parley’s mission is to rapidly transform human-made materials and systems to work in harmony with the ecosystem of nature, and to inspire and empower more impactful participation in the environmental cause. Working across the worlds of science, art, fashion, design, technology, finance, entertainment, sport, space and ocean exploration, Parley addresses today’s biggest ocean threats in a range of initiatives that challenge the status quo and invite everyone to own their role in the solutions. The only way forward is together—and there is no greater unifier than the ultimate source and life force: the all-connecting oceans.