the Élysée ensures that “this project costs nothing to the State”

    While the packaging of the Arc de Triomphe imagined by Christo began on Sunday, criticism has emanated from the work of the contemporary artist. The Élysée wanted to react to these attacks by supporting the project.

    “We do not feel any rejection of the project,” assures the Elysee, interviewed this Tuesday by BFMTV on the packaging of the Arc de Triomphe.

    While the Parisian monument began to be wrapped in fabrics and ropes this Sunday, many criticisms have already been formulated against this work imagined many years ago by the contemporary artist Christo, who died in 2020 .

    A self-funded project

    One of the most frequent criticisms concerns the price of this pharaonic construction site which lasted several months and mobilized dozens of workers. The total amount for the realization of this work is indeed 14 million euros. A significant cost that may have outraged some people on social networks.

    But as specified by the Center des monuments nationaux (CMN), which authorized the packaging of the Arc de Triomphe, the project is entirely self-financed thanks to the sales of original works by Christo: collages, drawings, models, or even lithographs. It therefore does not affect any public or private funding.

    “There have been misunderstandings about the cost. This project costs nothing to the State. It is entirely financed by Christo, it costs nothing to the French taxpayer”, assures the Elysee.

    The Arc de Triomphe is not the first attempt of the contemporary artist who had already packed the Pont Neuf in 1985 and the Reichstag in Berlin in 1995. This work had also brought together nearly five million visitors.

    Already at the time, criticisms had been formulated on the aesthetics of the work. Doubts that we still find today in some people in particular politicians. The Élysée is keen to defend the artist’s project, assuring that “the world and minds have evolved”.

    “Christo said that it was a tribute to Paris, to feel the wind which crosses the stone, to play with the light, a nod to the French flag, to the roofs of Paris … You have to be able to explain the process, why a work of art of this type is possible “, maintains the Presidency of the Republic.

    Asked also about the date of completion of this project, which had already been postponed twice, the Elysee said it was convinced that this is the right time.

    “Coming out of the health crisis, it gives a breath of freedom, daring, dreams … Christo’s project fully embodies it. There is such energy, such joy, it feels good,” says he does.

    While rope access technicians continue to work at Place de l’Étoile to install fabrics and ropes, the work should be officially unveiled on September 18. It will be visible until October 3.

    Elisa Bertholomey with Gauthier Hartmann

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