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Wrapped Trees, Projet pour l’Avenue des Champs-Élysées


Lithograph with collage of transparent polyethylene, thread, staples, photograph, map, masking tape and grease pencil additions, A.P 9/30
70 x 75 cm

This work illustrates the project of Christo and Jeanne-Claude (1935 – 2009), who, in 1969, wanted to wrap the 330 elm trees that adorn the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, accentuating the perspective from the roundabout to the Arc de Triomphe. Authorisation was refused by Maurice Papon, then Prefect of Paris, and the project was never completed. Christo, who studied at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia (Bulgaria), made all the preparatory drawings for the monumental, self-financed and ephemeral projects imagined by the artist couple. Both as ideas put on paper and as building materials, these creations are distinguished by their technical precision and a certain theatricality. In this lithograph – made after the project – the cutting of the image in two accentuates the monumentality of the Arc de Triomphe, while the cars signal the bustle of the avenue and help to visualise what the packaging would look like. For Christo and Jeanne-Claude, packaging means revealing the essence of an object: in a gesture, the couple also defines a working method from which they have never deviated, creating the urgency of observing the world in a different way during an artistic intervention.

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