JR at Saatchi — How to make a Pyramid disappear.
I went to see JR show in the middle of pandemic, 2021.
I remember reading about JR speaking of his childhood. ‘I didn’t spend enough time in school for any teachers to remember me. The only role models I had were the guys in the neighbourhood doing graffiti.” The show began, and the story immediately grappled me. I ended up respecting him even more after the exhibition.
In the first room of the exhibition hall, the image of graffiti as we know it — wearing a hood and running away with graffiti — is juxtaposed side by side with picture frames. As soon as you go through the picture frame wall, you can see JR’s unique method of attaching a large printed photo prints directly to the wall.
This is a project called Face 2 Face, where shots of everyday workers such as Palestinian and Israeli taxi drivers are sat side-by-side. There are not dissimilar. We wonder how these two conflicting sides have more similarities than differences.
Women Are Heroes is a project carried out between 2008 and 2009 in different cities in Africa, Brazil, India and Cambodia. As seen from the above, these women gaze are striking — and yes, they highlight the social role of women in these areas of conflict. I love how they celebrate their heroism from an expressive and optimistic approach. Shining a torch to these unseen parts highlights artists were lifting a rock to make women’s heartbreaking stories come to light. Through JR, they become protagonists of the urban landscape to which they are linked.
JR has made a monumental intervention to Louvres twice. By placing 2,000 stickers, he had created a giant 3D optical illusion from paper that imagines the iconic pyramid at the Musée du Louvre in Paris continuing underground.
Interesting to see how stickers work!
JR’s The Wrinkles of the Cities are truly moving. These projects look at age and the ageing process and, in turn, how it affects the identity of both the people and the city.
First puzzled by the look of this giant moving mural, you read its title, The Gun Chronicles: A Story of America. JR worked with Time magazine and travelled to St Louis, Dallas and Washington DC to meet with 245 representatives of a vast and complex spectrum of views on guns in the United States. So one might see portraits of gun collectors, hunters, law-enforcement officials, ER who treated victims of mass shootings, lobbyists and many others.
This image is so striking. The guy holding a camera like a machine gun, is JR’s childhood friend Ladj Ly. He later became Oscar-nominated film director.
Such a powerful shot. Such a good show.
JR — what an artist.
For VLog — watch the below Curator_Stephanie YouTube Channel
Stephanie Seungmin Kim, Independant Curator
Director & Founder