Artist JR has created a giant 3D optical illusion from paper that imagines the iconic pyramid at the Musée du Louvre in Paris continuing underground, but it has already been destroyed.
Named The Secret of the Great Pyramid, the trompe l’oeil was made from 2,000 stickers surrounding Pritzker Prize-winning architect IM Pei’s glass building, making it appear to project out from a white excavated crater.
At 17,000-square-metres, it was French street artist JR‘s largest collage to date. But within a day it was left in shreds after visitors traipsed across it.
“The images, like life, are ephemeral. Once pasted, the art piece lives on its own,” he wrote on Twitter. “The sun dries the light glue and with every step, people tear pieces of the fragile paper. The process is all about [the] participation of volunteers, visitors, and souvenir catchers.”
1 Street artist JR created a spectacular illusion to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Louvre Pyramid.
3 A group of 400 volunteers helped him paste 2,000 strips of paper to create the illusion of the Pyramid rising from a quarry.
6 The ephemeral piece of art, which was quickly destroyed by visitors who flocked to see it, took on new meaning after an unexpected event.
The project was created to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Louvre pyramid. On Saturday, JR shared a photo on his Instagram taken from a storeroom on the third floor of the museum, inviting the public to take a look.
A day later he posted another taken image from the same angle, which revealed the damage. Screens have since been installed surrounding the museum entrance for visitors to see the original design of The Secret of the Great Pyramid alongside a time-lapse video of its creation.
"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," said Jean-Luc Martinez, director of the Louvre.
"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."
7 During the installation, JR’s friend and collaboration, acclaimed filmmaker and artist Agnès Varda passed away.