“This project is also about presence and absence, about reality and memories, about impermanence.”

By Cailey Rizzo
April 03, 2019
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A paper installation on the grounds of Paris’s Louvre, meant to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the art museum’s famous glass pyramid, only lasted a few hours until it was torn to shreds.

French artist JR began installed a massive paper project last week in the main courtyard of the Louvre to celebrate 30 years of I.M. Pei’s glass tower. The installation took four days and 400 volunteers to complete.

Chesnot/Getty Images

The optical illusion made it appear that the pyramid continued deeper into the ground and that the edges of the Louvre building were craggy cliffs.

Chesnot/Getty Images

It was finished on the morning of March 30. And just a few hours later that day, it was already starting to come undone. Some called the installation a waste of money and chided the tourists who tore off bits of paper and caused the art to disappear more quickly than intended, according to Le Parisien.

But the artist defended the work and its quick disappearance. “The images, like life, are ephemeral,” JR tweeted in a statement. “Once pasted, the art piece lives on its own. The sun dries the light glue and with every step, people tear pieces of the fragile paper. The process is all about participation of volunteers, visitors, and souvenir catchers. This project is also about presence and absence, about reality and memories, about impermanence.”

The Louvre is continuing its celebration of 30 years of the glass pyramid with a giveaway in partnership with Airbnb. For one night and one night only, the world-famous art museum will allow two people to roam the galleries after hours and sleep in a pop-up hotel room under the glass pyramid. In order to win the night, contestants must answer the question “Why would you be the Mona Lisa’s perfect guess?” by April 12.

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