If one is visiting Paris for the first time in their lives, then plenty of people, local and not, will tell that seeing the Louvre Museum is a must. After all, it’s the world’s largest art museum and a historic monument in the city, housing priceless art pieces, artifacts, and antiquities. From ancient Egyptian to Etruscan art, one can see the footprints of many different cultures. And while the museum has many collections to offer, one must agree that the building itself is quite an attraction, especially the already iconic glass pyramid in the middle.

French artist JR used 2,000 paper stickers to create a stunning optical illusion around the Louvre pyramid

Image credits: jr

To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the pyramid’s construction, French artist Jean Rene, known as JR, transformed the structure into an impressive optical illusion. With the help of 400 volunteers and 2,000 paper ‘sticker’ sheets, he made the pyramid seem as if it was placed in the middle of a grayscale quarry.

Image credits: jr

On Saturday, March 30th, JR invited everyone on social media to see his masterpiece. “Come discover the Great Pyramid this [weekend]! Thanks to the 400 […] volunteers who helped us paste all week the 2000 strips of paper” the artist posted on his Instagram page together with the shot of the transformed pyramid.

Image credits: jr

And people did flood in! In fact, the 17,000 square meters (183,000 square foot) work attracted so much attention that within hours, the paper sheets that made up the artwork were torn to pieces.

Image credits: jr

“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,” Jean Rene said below the image of the partly destroyed collage.

Image credits: jr

“This project is also about presence and absence, about reality and memories, about impermanence” the artist added. With JR’s comment, it seems as if the optical illusion he created with paper to transform the appearance of the Louvre’s pyramid was in itself transformed by the people that visited it. It became a sort of performance art, with everyone involved.

Image credits: jr

Although Rene created the piece of art to celebrate the pyramid’s 30th anniversary, he revealed on Instagram that he wanted to dedicate it to a person. “I finished this one for you Agnès Varda, you loved people, pasting and illusion,” he shared the message online. “I am sure you can see it. I did something that can be seen from the sky,” the artist added.

Image credits: jr

Agnès Varda was a prominent French film director, photographer and artist who passed away on 29 of March, 2019, at the age of 90. The two artists worked closely together and collaborated on a 2017 documentary film ‘Faces Places’ that detailed their journey to villages and small towns in France where they met communities and created art.

Image credits: jr

Here’s what people had to say about the art piece