The charismatic yet anonymous street artist who goes by the name JR combines the art of photography with street-poster pasting on a massive scale. His works typically involve pasting large-scale black-and-white photographs of ordinary individuals from different communities onto city walls, rooftops, or scaffolding structures. The artist has visited cities across the globe, from Rio de Janeiro to Phnom Penh, seeking to give a face to the powerless ordinary person and to stand for their causes and communities.Read More
Beginning his artistic career as a teenage graffitist on the streets of Paris, JR by chance came upon an abandoned camera and began documenting his fellow underground artists. He pasted his photographs on city walls in 'sidewalk gallery' exhibitions. Later, while working on the series 'Portrait of a Generation' (2004–2006) the artist was inspired by footage of the 2005 French riots to paste photographs of individuals from Les Bosquets on the walls of Paris. The artist sought to rectify the unbalanced coverage and representation of the people of the riots. The artist took his humanising cause overseas for the illegal exhibition Face 2 Face (2007) in Israel and Palestine. Pasting images of Israelis and Palestinians from the same professions making comic faces alongside each other, the artist sought to generate understanding that crossed divides.
After Face 2 Face, JR's practice grew to several simultaneous 'international' projects. 'Women Are Heroes' (2008–2009) began by acknowledging the women coping in the favelas of Brazil, and subsequently spread to cities worldwide. The project culminated in a final work covering the side of a large container ship that departed Le Havre for Malaysia.
Speaking at a TED Talk in 2011, JR proposed to 'turn the world inside out' with an international participatory art project empowering people to put up their own images and speak up about their own causes and experiences. Financed by a $100,000 TED Prize, the artist accordingly began the international participatory art project 'Inside Out' (2011–ongoing).
Departing from his focus on people's faces, in 2016 in collaboration with the Louvre, JR turned to architecture. He made I.M. Pei's iconic glass pyramid 'disappear' into the façade of the palace in the background using an historic photograph and then returned in 2019 with an abundance of volunteers, paste, and paper, to illusionistically extend the pyramid below ground into a false crater. The artist's 'Giants' series (2016) for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro was another high-profile project in which huge photographs of unknown competing athletes were erected on scaffolding.
Not limited to the gigantic, JR has held solo exhibitions featuring smaller photographic and installation works in galleries across Europe, Asia, the United States, and Canada. He has also exhibited work in the Venice Biennale (2007), the Shanghai Biennale (2010), and the Havana Biennial (2019), and since 2014 has consistently featured at Art Basel. The artist also makes films utilising and documenting his work, including the Oscar-nominated documentary Faces Places (2017) directed by the late Agnès Varda, and the short film Ellis (2015), starring Robert De Niro.
Ocula | 2019
You've probably heard of the French artist and photographer JR, even if you don't pay much attention to contemporary art. So few living artists are the subjects of a 60 Minutes profile by Anderson Cooper. Then there was the Academy Award nomination last year for the documentary Faces, Places, codirected with the legendary French New Wave filmmaker...
The French artist JR, best-known for his giant art works on city walls, gets his first major retrospective in the Middle East with an exhibition opening at QM Gallery Katara in Doha next month (9 March-31 May 2017).
Most New Yorkers think of Times Square as a barren consumerist wasteland, but one incredible thing does happen there: by turning creators loose on the world’s most famous intersection, Times Square Arts turns it into a gigantic public platform for contemporary performance and visual arts. It’s one of the highest-profile public arts...
On Monday, the organizers of the Çanakkale Biennial canceled the exhibition’s fifth edition, which was due to open on September 24. In an official announcement, the Çanakkale Biennial Initiative intimated that the decision was informed by the current regime of repression in Turkey following the attempted military coup against President Tayyip...
Alicia Keys x JR live for the opening of Horizontal exhibition at Perrotin New York, June 27, 2018
JR is a self-described photographer who uses perspective photography to create unique fly-posts on walls. Often drawing inspiration from people and their life stories, JR has produced well-known works that reflect social controversies in society today.