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French street artist JR is helping the Louvre celebrate the 30th anniversary of its famous glass pyramid by surrounding it with a dramatic optical illusion. JR worked with his 400 volunteers to place 2,000 pieces of paper around the pyramid at the Louvre, giving the impression that the pyramid was rising from a  quarry. This installation celebrates his 30th anniversary of the Pyramid of the Louvre. An iconic piece of modern architecture, it has been an important part of the  history of the Louvre since architect I.M. Mr. Pei completed this building in the year 1989. Interestingly, this isn't the first time Pyramid has invaded his JR work.

In 2016, he covered the Louvre's pyramid with large-format photographic prints, integrating them with the museum's façade. Visitors flooded the website after the artist submitted photos of the completed installation on Friday. In an instant, the fragile paper covering the 17,000-square-foot space began to crumble. Some visitors were disillusioned that it had disappeared so quickly, as it was a temporary realm of  art, but the situation did not bother JR. He looked at the destruction of works of art in a  more philosophical way.

“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.”

This work, with its theme of "presence and absence, reality and memory, and transience," also served as an unexpected homage. JR and his team were in the middle of an installation when acclaimed Belgian-French film director and artist Agnès Varda passed away on March 29th at the age of 90. Co-directing the 2017 film Faces, Places with his JR made many viewers reacquainted with Varda's work. The film also earned her an Academy Award nomination, making her the oldest person to be nominated for an Oscar.

JR and Valda remained close after working together, and she was certainly on his mind during the Louvre takeover. In fact, after it was over, he wrote a special message just for her. “I completed this for you, Agnès Varda, you love humans, pastes, and illusions...I'm sure you understand that. Create something visible from the sky. I promise, I didn’t know  it was for you.”

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