JR - THE WRINKLES OF THE CITY, BERLIN
The artist known as JR is among the most innovative figures on the international contemporary art scene. Born in France in 1983, he lives in Paris and New York. He displays his black-and-white portrait photographs all over the world as gigantic posters, pasted up primarily on buildings. JR works on each project in highly varied locations and with different cultural and contemporary connections. The very nature and special characteristics of this spacial and thematic content are, at the same time, the subjects of JR’s artistic work. They can be seen in the faces of the people he photographs in close-up. The over-sized portraits grab our attention on the spot, on the place where they have been posted up, often taking us by surprise with their directness. JR wants to use this visual impact as the basis of his communication with us.
In April 2013 JR is working on over 15 buildings in the Berlin city limits, within the context of his project ‘The Wrinkles of the City’. Just as he has already done in Cartagena, Shanghai, Los Angeles und Havana, JR is now portraying here older people who have lived through the changes and upheavals of their city. Their individual life stories and what they have gone through show up in their facial features just as Berlin’s history does on the buildings where JR posts up the portraits.
And JR’s photographs are always about more than the individual. They point to the importance of each and every person. The artist successfully portrays the dignity of each person and does this without any prettification. People who seem to have lost significance socially, the oldest generation, become visible once more and feel noticed and valued again.
The wish for something of the person’s personality to sustain and live on seems to be fulfilled through the impressively large scale of the work of art itself. And yet the posters are exposed to the elements. This makes them ephemeral. Changing, fading, these are processes to which both man and the city are equally subjected, and they are rigourously pursued in JR’s work
JR records his projects through a variety of media, both outdoors and indoors. These include photographs, pastings on wood and metal, then lithography, and, moving beyond these, film (Women are Heroes, nominated at the Cannes Film Festival 2010), and his own publications (28 mm, Women are Heroes) and online at www.jr-art.net
Arte TV is in Berlin with his current project.