French artist Jeane Rene, well know as JR, has unveiled on Friday a huge collage in the courtyard of the Louvre to mark the 30th birthday of the Louvre’s glass pyramid. Over the course of five days, JR and 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.
On Saturday the artist tweeted a photo of the 17,000 square meters (183,000 square foot) work and invited the public to come to take a look. Come they did, and within a few hours, the fragile 2,000-odd sheets of paper were torn to pieces, returning the site to its natural state in what could almost be called a work of public performance art.
In a “Photo of the Day” post on his website, the artist explains that the installation was designed to last a single weekend. “The images, like life, are ephemeral,” he tweeted. “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 hunters.”
“This project is also about presence and absence, about reality and memories, about impermanence,” he added. Three years ago JR gave the pyramid a very different treatment, covering it in a giant trompe-l’oeil that made it seem like it had disappeared.