Paris is recycling Christo and Jeanne Claude’s monumental installation Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped (1961-2021) for future use, the city announced yesterday in a press release.
“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,” Paris mayor Anne Hildago said in a statement.
“This is a very fine example of the art world’s ability to adapt to climate challenges,” she added.
The environmental organization Parley for the Oceans is spearheading the effort to recycle 269,098 square feet of blue polypropylene fabric and 9,843 feet of red polypropylene rope used to construct the work.
The wood and steel substructures from the work have already been reused by the carpentry cooperative Les Charpentiers de Paris and the steel producers ArcelorMittal and Derichebourg Environnement, respectively.
The founder and chief executive of Parley for Oceans Cyrill Gutsch believes the project is reflective of “a new economy where harmful, toxic and exploitative business practices are a relic of the past.”
Certainly, Christo and Jeanne Claude’s interventions have sparked radically inventive ways to approach public installations. This comes two years after the Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped‘s initial unveiling, which was completed right after Christo’s death in 2020.
Christo and Jeanne Claude’s works were often mounted with the intention of being disassembled. The Floating Piers (2014–16), for example, were a floating structure on Lake Iseo in Italy, which was later processed by the German recycling company Al-tex to make needle felt and material for horse riding rings.
Christo and Jeanne Claude’s studio is currently at work on The Mastaba, a work conceived in 1977 that draws from Islamic architecture and is supposed to go on view in Abu Dhabi. Pending its completion, the piece is expected to be the largest contemporary sculpture by volume in the world.