JR

Monumental photography, with a community ethos

JR (he/him) was born in 1983 in Paris, France. Paris is still his base, but he travels around the world collaborating with different communities and institutions to create his art.

Projects

JR nearly always works with photography, but his projects are all very different. He’s collaborated with prisoners in California and made installations at world-famous museums, like The Louvre in Paris. In 2017, he collaborated with Agnès Varda to make the Academy Award nominated documentary film, Faces Places.

Ballet

JR’s practice has collaboration at its heart. One medium he’s often returned to is dance, ballet in particular. In 2014, he created his Art Series installation with the New York City Ballet – a huge eye formed of life-size photos of the dancers pasted on the floor at the Lincoln Center.

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Collaborations with JR

Avant Arte and JR have one upcoming collaboration.

Practice overview

JR takes public art to the next level. For nearly two decades, he’s made huge black and white photo installations in public spaces. But the art is not just exhibited in public, it’s made with the public too. Women are Heroes, for example, started in 2008. Since, the project has travelled across seven countries in four different continents. The artist works with women in local communities to take their portraits. These are then pasted onto local infrastructure like trains, houses and bridges. The huge images of their faces are symbols of empowerment, resilience and strength.

JR describes his practice as “infiltrating art”. He thinks of it as infiltrating into society – rather than just looking at it from the outside. This is especially clear in Migrants, Picnic Across the Border (2017). JR created a picnic table on either side of the wall between the United States and Mexico. The table became a meeting point for citizens of both countries to come together. Here, like much of his work, JR uses art as “the excuse for people to actually connect in the physical world. It’s their face, their message, their community. I’m just an enabler.”

“I raise questions, I don’t give answers”JR