The glass pyramid of the Louvre, designed by American-Chinese architect Ieoh Ming Pei, is a signifying art and French icon and first opened its door to the public on March 30, 1989. To celebrate its 30th anniversary, the museum invited French artist JR (Jean René) to create a large-scale optical illusion which made the pyramid appear to have a deep foundation and emerge from a large piece of white rock.
With 400 volunteers and four working days from 26 to 29 March, JR and the team pasted over 2,000 pieces of paper strips on the ground surrounding the Louvre Pyramid to form this large-scale, black and white collage ‘Secret of the Great Pyramid’. As expected, the beautiful transformation lasted less than a day. The paper-made optical illusion was gradually destroyed by the weekend crowd visiting the Louvre, and by 31 March it was completed gone. Yet it was meant to be and still served its purpose. As JR written on Twitter, “The images, like life, are ephemeral. 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.”