The French artist JR, along with the help of 400 volunteers, completed a massive collage on Friday at Paris’s Musée du Louvre to celebrate the 30th anniversary of I.M. Pei’s glass pyramids, which dominate the museum’s courtyard. It took the group five days to place and glue the roughly 2,000 pieces of paper that made up the piece. The work, when seen from the right angle, had the trompe l’oeil effect of making the pyramid appear to extend deep into the ground.
Unfortunately, the public’s attraction to and interaction with the installation quickly resulted in major wear and tear, and by Sunday it had already been worn down to tatters. Torn bits of paper from the installation have reportedly blown away as far as the Seine, the Carrousel bridge, and the Musée d’Orsay. On Twitter, JR’s response to his work’s short lifespan was generous and diplomatic.
This isn’t JR’s first time giving the Louvre’s famous pyramid an optically illusive intervention. Three years ago he covered one of its four sides with an image of the palace’s facade so that, from the correct angle, the pyramid seemed to vanish.