News

L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped: 1961-2021

Posthumous homage from the centre des Monuments Nationaux, the City of Paris and the Centre Pompidou to artistic duo Christo.
A historic event that will close a circle.

15th September 2021 | Guest Writer: Margherita Nussio
Christo and Jeanne-Claude was an artistic duo formed by the artist Christo Vladimirov Javacheff (1935–2020) and Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon (1935–2009). The two artists met in Paris in 1958, when Christo was commissioned a portrait of Jeanne-Claude’s mother. Since then, they worked together until Jeanne-Claude died in 2009 and Christo continued the legacy of the couple until his death in 2020. They are between the most important, celebrated, and controversial artists, well-known for their wrapped buildings (and landscapes) and site-specific works.


Christo, Pont Neuf Wrapped, Paris, France
The works that they created were bounded to a specific place and a specific time, almost like a piece of performance art. The duo, that always wanted to guarantee freedom of expression and never wanted any external interactions, have always self-funded their installations and always paid the workers that helped them to install the artworks at least the minimum wage. After the end of the installation, all the materials used are recycled and the location turned back to the original state, without any interference with nature. The installations are the ultimate expression of freedom, they are not there to be used, to be bought, to be monetised. They are there to be appreciated.
Christo, Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, Germany
What does it mean? It is always difficult to give meaning to a work of art, sometimes the real question is: is there really the need to ask ourselves why? And what does it mean? Can’t we just appreciate them for what they are? During a phone interview, Christo once said: “The work can absorb all kinds of interpretations, and all these interpretations are legitimate”. Using the artist’s words, the works that they created are a “gentle disturbance” of something that has been already created but the nature (The Floating Piers- Lago D’Iseo-Italy 2016- Umbrellas- Japan/USA 1981-1991) or by the architects and artists (Reichstag- Berlin 1995 or he Pont Neuf Wrapped- Paris 1985). The public that is watching the work becomes part of it, with their energy, questions and, ultimately, presence. There is an interesting contrast here between the presence of the public, the press, the media attention, and the absence of the building (or landscape) that is withdrawn from the viewer’s attention. It’s a poetic mix of absence and presence that constitutes the essence of Christo.


Christo, The Umbrellas, Japan
When Christo arrived in Paris in 1961, he was living in a small room near the Arc De Triomphe and, ever since, he has been attracted to the building. In 1962 he made a first draft of how it might have looked like wrapped and, in 1988, he made the first collage. Now, 60 years late, the project is coming to life.
For 16 days, from 18th September to 3rd October 2021, the public will have the pleasure to see the work that the artists thought and designed 60 years ago in real life. In parallel to the installation, other events to celebrate the duo are organised in Europe: (from the website of the foundation).

Sotheby’s Paris
The Final Christo- Original works for the Arc de Triomphe
17.09.2021- 03.10.2021
Paris (France)

Cahiers d’art and Zuecca Projects
Christo: Early Works and Unrealised Projects
15.09.2021- 05.10.2021
Paris (France)

Galerie Gmurzynska
Christo: Nature | Environments
11.09.2021- 20.10.2021
Zurich and New York (Switzerland, USA)

Galerie Léo Arte and Galerie Sage
Christo: works 1959-2020
09.09.2021- 09.10.2021
Paris (France)

Sofia, City Art Gallery
Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Life=Works=Projects
08.09.2021- 07.11.2021
Sofia (Bulgaria)

Cahiers d’Art
Christo: Show cases, show windows and store Fronts 1963-1966
23.09.2020 - 05.10.2021
Paris (France)

Musée Würth France Erstein
Christo et Jeann-Claude: Collection Würth
21.06.2020 - 20.10.2021
Erstein (France)

Deutscher Bundestag
Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Wrapped Reichstag-Berlin 1971-95.
A documentation Exhibition
Permanent Exhibition
Berlin (Germany)


If you are unable to travel to Paris or to any of the locations where exhibitions will take place, don’t worry, you will not miss it! You can follow a live stream from Paris on the foundation’s website.



Christo, The Floating Piers, Lago d'Iseo, Italy

About the Writer
Margherita Nussio was born and raised in Udine, a small town in the northeast of Italy, where the proximity of Austria and Slovenia creates an interesting middle-European mix.

She studied Art History at La Sapienza University of Rome and life brought her to London, to undertake a Master's degree at SOAS, University of London, in Contemporary Art of Asia and Africa. She is curious, passionate and always wandering around, trying to discover new things about London and the world.

@margheran