For the iconic Louvre Museum‘s 30th anniversary and to honor the passing of filmmaker Agnes Varda, the museum hired the amazing french artist Jeane Rene (also known as JR) to transform the famous Louvre Pyramid with an optical illusion pasting.
The french artist’s 17,000 sq meter optical illusion was named “The Secret of the Great Pyramid”, made from 2,000 stickers surrounding Pritzker Prize-winning architect IM Pei’s glass pyramid.
Artist JR, along with a team of 400 volunteers, used 2,000 paper stickers to create the artwork that made the pyramid appear as though it was submerged in a quarry of white rock. To this date, it is JR’s largest project ever created.
Nonetheless, the fantastic illusion piece has already been destroyed. When the project was constructed with only paper, it quickly became clear that it wouldn’t last long. Once visitors arrived and the art piece was stepped on, it was slowly destroyed by visitors’ underfoot. However, The french artist was not disappointed, because he intended for the piece to have a short life.
“The images, like life, are ephemeral. 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,” Twitted JR on the piece’s lifespan and meaning.
“This project is also about presence and absence, about reality and memories, about impermanence.”
JR shared a photo through Instagram of the Project from above, inviting visitors to take a look, close and personal. The next day, he shared another photo of the piece, already damaged by the visitors.
For the later public looking forward to see the artwork, but was already destroyed when they arrived, screens have since been installed surrounding the museum entrance with images of the original design of The Secret of the Great Pyramid alongside a time-lapse video of its creation.
This isn’t the first project JR has done alongside the museum, and back in 2016 they made the Louvre’s pyramid vanish by blending it in with the surrounding buildings. With the new installation, JR transformed his signature style into a much bigger scope, making the iconic building look as if it has been swallowed by a crevasse.
The Louvre Museum’s director, Jean-Luc Martinez had something to say: “The Louvre Pyramid is a work of art in its own right, a modern icon. Since its creation, it makes dream and inspires the greatest artists, so when JR came to see me, three years after his first spectacular intervention on the Pyramid in 2016, to present me a new proposal of collaborative work, I was immediately seduced. It magnifies this iconic monument and allows everyone to reappropriate it through a popular and festive performance.”