JR

b. 1983, France

JR Biography

The charismatic street artist JR has visited cities across the globe, from Rio de Janeiro to Phnom Penh, seeking through his photography and posters to give a face to the powerless ordinary person and to stand for their causes and communities.

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Early Years

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.

JR Artworks

JR's works typically involve pasting large-scale black-and-white photographs of ordinary individuals from different communities onto city walls, rooftops, or scaffolding structures.

Portrait of a Generation

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.

Face 2 Face

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.

International Projects

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.

Giants series

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.

Exhibitions

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).

Film

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.

Website and Instagram

JR's websites can be found here and JR's Instagram can be found here.

Michael Irwin | Ocula | 2022

JR Featured Artworks

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Unframed, Man Ray revu par JR, Femme aux cheveux longs 1929, horizontale, Vevey, Suisse by JR contemporary artwork print
JR Unframed, Man Ray revu par JR, Femme aux cheveux longs 1929, horizontale, Vevey, Suisse, 2010 Colour print mounted on dibond
125 x 188 x 7 cm
Galeria Nara Roesler Contact Gallery
Tehachapi, Daytime, Triptych, U.S.A. by JR contemporary artwork photography, print
JR Tehachapi, Daytime, Triptych, U.S.A., 2019 Colour print, mounted on dibond, mat plexiglas, american flushed walnut frame
160 x 264.5 x 9.2 cm
Pace Gallery
Tehachapi, Mountain, February 7, 2020, 10:10a.m., U.S.A. by JR contemporary artwork photography, print
JR Tehachapi, Mountain, February 7, 2020, 10:10a.m., U.S.A., 2020 Colour print, mounted on dibond, glass, oak wood frame
105.1 x 160 cm
Pace Gallery
Tehachapi, Mountain, February 7, 2020, 6.48p.m., U.S.A. by JR contemporary artwork photography, print
JR Tehachapi, Mountain, February 7, 2020, 6.48p.m., U.S.A., 2020 Colour print, mounted on dibond, glass, oak wood frame
105 x 160 cm
Pace Gallery
The Wrinkles of the City, Istanbul, Ismet Erko̤, Work In progress, Turkey by JR contemporary artwork print
JR The Wrinkles of the City, Istanbul, Ismet Erko̤, Work In progress, Turkey, 2017 Inkjet print, dibond, Duraclear, steel frame
65 x 105 cm
Perrotin Contact Gallery
Metal and Puppets, Le Havre by JR contemporary artwork works on paper
JR Metal and Puppets, Le Havre, 2015 Ink on wood
228 x 363 cm
Perrotin Contact Gallery
JR at the Louvre, La Pyramide, close-up South West angle by JR contemporary artwork photography
JR JR at the Louvre, La Pyramide, close-up South West angle, 2016 Colour photograph, matte plexiglas, aluminium, wood
100 x 100 cm
Perrotin Contact Gallery

JR Recent Exhibitions

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JR Represented By

Galeria Nara Roesler contemporary art gallery in São Paulo, Brazil Galeria Nara Roesler New York, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo
Pace Gallery contemporary art gallery in 540 West 25th Street, New York, USA Pace Gallery Beijing, East Hampton, Geneva, Hong Kong, London, New York, Palm Beach, Palo Alto, Seoul
Perrotin contemporary art gallery in Paris, France Perrotin Hong Kong, New York, Paris, Seoul, Shanghai, Tokyo

JR In Ocula Magazine

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JR In Related Press

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The Secret of Artist JR’s Skyrocketing Success Related Press The Secret of Artist JR’s Skyrocketing Success 5 February 2019, Architectural Digest

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 Coo

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JR's giant public art gets first show in Middle East Related Press JR's giant public art gets first show in Middle East 22 February 2017, The Art Newspaper

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 Marc

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Public art by Björk, JR, and Yoko Ono comes to Moscow Related Press Public art by Björk, JR, and Yoko Ono comes to Moscow 24 September 2016, The Creators Project

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...

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Organizers cancel Turkish Biennial amid fears of government crackdown Related Press Organizers cancel Turkish Biennial amid fears of government crackdown 16 September 2016, Hyperallergic

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...

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JR In Video & Audio

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