Cover-ups: Five monumental wraps by late artist Christo

Paris (AFP) –


From Berlin's Reichstag to the Pont Neuf in Paris, late artist Christo and his wife and collaborator Jean-Claude wowed the world with their spectacular projects wrapping famous landmarks around the world.

The Arc de Triomphe in Paris is the latest. It will disappear under silvery-blue recyclable material for a fortnight from Saturday.

Christo liked to call his ephemeral disappearing acts "gentle disturbances".

"They will go away, like our childhood, our life," the Bulgarian-born artist once said.

Here are five of his classic cover-ups:

- Air Package, Eindhoven (1966) -

It was air, not a landmark, that Christo first wrapped.

The couple moored their monumental package filled with air and suspended from flagpoles by steel cables outside the Van Abbemuseum in the Dutch town.

Christo said he wanted to use "the cheapest... and biggest thing" in the world for his work. "We have more air than water and earth."

- Chicago Museum of Modern Art (1969) -

The grim modernist building had "all the charm of a shoe box", but Christo and Jean-Claude picked the museum precisely for its shape, because it already looked like a package.

They shrouded it in greenish-brown tarpaulin to contrast the snow that cloaked the city the winter the wrap took place.

Alarmed by the idea, Chicago's fire chiefs objected, ordering the museum to remove the tarpaulin before finally relenting.

- Sydney's Wrapped Coast (1969) -

The couple used a small army of climbers and helpers to attach 90,000 square metres (around 97,000 square feet) of fabric to rocks stretched across a part of Sydney's Harbour.

It took four weeks and 17,000 hours of work for the team to finish the project that remained in place for three months.

- Pont Neuf, Paris (1985) -

One of their most famous wraps, Christo draped the oldest bridge in Paris in a silky sandstone-coloured material echoing its real colour.

Christo in 1981 appears next to the model of his project to wrap the Pont Neuf in Paris, which would take place in 1985
Christo in 1981 appears next to the model of his project to wrap the Pont Neuf in Paris, which would take place in 1985 Michel CLEMENT AFP/File

As with all the couple's work, the cost was covered through the sale of preparatory drawings and Christo's earlier works.

- Reichstag, Berlin (1995) -

First conceived by the artists in 1975, the wrap of a building so charged with painful history was rejected multiple times by the city of Berlin.

But the 20-year wait was worth it, becoming one of their signature works.

They wrapped the German parliament building in 100,000 square metres of thick silvery fabric, tied in place by more than 15 kilometres (nine miles) of blue rope.

Millions flocked to see it before it came down after only a fortnight. Ironically, the city wanted it to stay up longer.