JR - the internationally renowned French street art artist.
About the artist
The artist, born in Paris in 1983, works under his initials JR (Jean-René) and deliberately remains anonymous. By doing so, he does not want to put his person in the foreground, but his work. JR is considered the rising star in the sky of street art.
At the latest around 2011 JR attained to his international reputation with the appreciation by the TED Prize. This award is given for bold visionary ideas that want to change the world.
In 2013, there was the first museum retrospective of JR's work. Since then, his works have been continuously shown internationally in renowned museums, including the Tate Modern in London, the Brooklyn Museum in New York, and the Kunsthalle Munich.
Street Art: he Street as a Place of Art
Growing up in the banlieues of Paris, JR became interested in street culture at an early age. At the age of 17, he found a camera in the Paris metro, started taking photos, and pasted them on the walls of buildings with the words 'Expo de rue' (street exhibition). This is how JR combined photography with street art. He quickly found that his photographs were noticed by passers-by and created an emotional effect. JR's first exhibition venues were the streets of Paris, and later the world.
»I own the biggest gallery in the world - the walls of the city!« – JR
The artist's paste-ups
JR eventually became famous for his gigantic posters in public spaces, the 'paste-ups'. In street art, 'paste-up' or 'pasting' refers to an artistic poster or paper work that is pasted up.
JR made portrait photographs of unknown people and posterized them in monumental formats on house fronts, trains, container ships or border walls. These huge photo collages in black and white generated great attention. Without further explanation, the relevant social themes of these works become clear.
The works of JR: »Can art change the world?«
Since the 2010s, JR has been creating projects and installations internationally. Some of the works are playful in nature, such as when the artist makes the Louvre pyramid disappear through a trompe l'oeil. But most of the projects are driven by the question, "Can art change the world?"
The stories these projects tell are meant to sharpen our view of the world. JR brings into focus social and political issues such as freedom, engagement, community, identity, borders, migration, globalization, poverty.
JR's art impressively raises open questions and thus encourages dialogue. It should be understood as a perceptive commentary on our society and times. At the same time, JR's work conveys joy and hope.
Project ‚Inside Out‘ by JR
‚Inside Out‘ is a global participatory art project. JR created it in 2011, it takes place in ever-changing locations. The project aims to cross borders and build bridges between people. Almost 450,000 people from over 140 countries have participated so far. Mobile passport photo machines are used to create portrait photos, print them out in oversized format and assemble them into a monumental collage that is posted on a wall in a public space. The project offers individuals and communities from all parts of the world an opportunity to make a statement and share their concerns with the world. Anyone can participate and is encouraged to share untold stories and images of people in their communities through the photo portraits. The photo campaigns will also be documented and exhibited online at www.insideoutproject.net.
JR's ‚Women Are Heroes‘ project
With this project, JR highlighted the essential role of women in society and underscored their dignity in different locations. For this purpose, he photographed the women of a community in their everyday environment. The result was haunting photographs and close-ups of their faces and eyes. In large format, the photographs were installed across the women's neighborhoods and cities, for example on facades or roofs, for everyone to see.
Lithographs as limited editions by JR
JR produces photographs for his actions and installations. JR publishes a selection of these as limited editions - usually they are quickly sold out. The photographs are printed on white art paper in limited editions using traditional lithographic printing presses by Voirin and Marinoni. All lithographs bear the printer's embossing stamp and are signed by JR in the lower right corner (original pencil signature) and numbered in the lower left corner.