Triumphant farewell – Newspaper Kommersant No. 169 (7131) from 20.09.2021

Yesterday, the Arc de Triomphe, wrapped in blue cloth, opened on the main square of the Champs Elysees. One of the main monuments in France was entrusted to the Bulgarian Christo – Hristo Yavashev (1934–2020). The artist did not see the opening. Yes, and we, judging by the relation to the project, we see something like this for the last time, the Kommersant correspondent in France believes. Alexey Tarkhanov.

Place Charles de Gaulle is closed to cars because people are walking towards the Arch. It looks as if the artist took it and painted it into the landscape. Pasted on top of the surrounding Paris. “I didn’t think she was so big,” the boy says to the girl next to him. “We drive by every day, but only now I began to notice her. How beautiful she is. “

There is a sign on the post: “Charles de Gaulle Square”. Above it is another sign, wrapped in transparent plastic. “Place des Christo and Jeanne-Claude” – it is written on it.

Christo and his wife, girlfriend, constant co-author Jeanne-Claude (she died in 2009) dreamed about this project for many years.

Arriving in Paris for the first time, the artist found himself face to face with the Arc de Triomphe. The Napoleonic Mountain occupied the entire window of the room under the roof, in which his friends let him live.

A lot of people helped Christo to bring this project to life. Nobody expected that he might be the last. The final permission was given by President Macron. There is also a list of those who did not interfere, including veterans, for whom an eternal flame is burning (and now too) under the arch. They demanded first that the artist be satisfied with packing one support and then force him to change the color of the fabric. From golden sandy, as it used to be on Pont Neuf, to blue and white with red ropes – in the colors of the French flag.

Christo didn’t argue, he was already surprised that the project was going faster than usual.

For years, the artist is used to explaining to politicians all the features of his work, in particular, that he does not require a single centime from the state or city budget.

No sponsors, no way, ever. As before, the money needed for € 14 million was raised by the sale of works and loans secured by the art collection.

The arch was supposed to open in the spring of last year – as the main exhibit at the Center Pompidou “Christo and Jeanne-Claude. Paris!”. The project was stopped, according to the authors of Vanity Fair, by the “falcon family”, which was going to breed chicks in the niches of one of the sculptures. The League for the Protection of the Birds demanded to postpone the work, and then events rolled one after another – the “yellow vests” that destroyed the arch, an epidemic, quarantine and, finally, the death of the author.

On May 31 last year, the 84-year-old artist died of emphysema in New York. They say his relatives wanted to charter an ambulance plane to give Christo one last breath of the air of Paris, say goodbye to youth, art and the city in which he and Jeanne-Claude met, got married and created their most famous installation, packing Pont-Neuf in 1985 … But this was no longer possible. The project was completed by Cristo’s nephew, who worked with him more than once, Vladimir Yavashev. And so the Arch appeared before the Parisians. The fact that it was “open to the public” yesterday is a symbolic act rather than a real one. A ceremony as funny as the grand opening of a volcano. The installation didn’t appear out of nowhere. It is impossible to hide the thing 50 by 45 meters, closing the perspective of the Champs Elysees. The work has been going on since July 16, and in the last days before the opening, 95 high-altitude installers worked day and night.

Flocks of young people in blue vests in all languages ​​explain to those gathered in the square the meaning of the work. “You must have seen the packed Pont Neuf?” – Asks, looking sideways at my gray hair, the girl-consultant. No I did not see. And I never even heard of Christo in the year when Mikhail Gorbachev replaced the untimely departed KU Chernenko.

Much time has passed, the impression of the wrapped Pont-Neuf, which briefly made Paris the “capital of the arts”, has been forgotten. People met with a new work and again turned out to be completely unprepared for it. Newspapers and social media went wild. Most of all, those who were not indifferent were outraged by the amount spent, as if the artists had taken these millions out of our pockets.

And remembering that the permission for packaging was given by the state and city authorities, the opposition happily caught them indulging in bad taste. “A garbage bag around one of our most glorious monuments. They’re trying to screw everything up, ”Florian Filippo, a former issue of the second National Front, wrote on Twitter. And the architect Carlo Rusty in the newspaper Le Monde, talking about his love for Christo, ended with the appeal: “Unpack immediately back.” He shamed dead authors with old-fashionedness, a lack of understanding of ecology and the new intellectual aura of the 21st century. “14 million in the furnace, while the homeless expect the cold!” – another commentator was indignant.

The reaction is familiar in the Soviet way. We would have heard about the same if Christo offered to pack the Mausoleum.

“Napoleon would have risen from the coffin if he saw this,” an angry young guy enters into my conversation with the consultant. “Have the French really forgotten how to value their monuments.” “Why,” I answered him, “maybe the fabric and ropes protect her from the same Frenchmen who, wearing yellow vests, joyfully destroyed the shrine.”

The crowd was rather pleased. It’s hard to even guess how many selfies were taken yesterday in the sunny square. It is strange, however, that many Parisians were not happy with the idea of ​​receiving the Arc de Triomphe in a gift box. In order to then carefully unfold it, assessing the monument anew, and many years later to recall Christo nostalgically – by November 11, nothing will remain of his project.


The post Triumphant farewell – Newspaper Kommersant No. 169 (7131) from 20.09.2021 appeared first on Archyde.

Source link

Leave a Comment