With the help of a small army of 400 volunteers, French artist JR pasted thousands of strips of paper around the Louvre in Paris, turning the courtyard around the museum into a massive optical illusion. Installed in honor of the structure’s 30th anniversary, the collage titled “The Secret of the Great Pyramid” provides a glimpse at what may lie beneath the iconic glass pyramid.
A follow-up to his 2016 work that made the museum disappear against the backdrop of the Louvre Palace, JR’s new illusion reveals a construction site with the tip of the pyramid at its center and a much larger structure extending down into a rocky quarry. 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,” JR writes. “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.”
Some visitors took pieces of the installation home, while other strips torn by foot traffic have been discarded. To see more of JR’s large-scale photo installations, follow the artist on Instagram.