With a camera, a dedicated wheatpasting crew and the help of whole villages and favelas, 2011 TED Prize winner JR shows the world its true face.
Working anonymously, pasting his giant images on buildings, trains, bridges, the often-guerrilla artist JR forces us to see each other. Traveling to distant, often dangerous places -- the slums of Kenya, the favelas of Brazil -- he infiltrates communities, befriending inhabitants and recruiting them as models and collaborators. He gets in his subjects’ faces with a 28mm wide-angle lens, resulting in portraits that are unguarded, funny, soulful, real, that capture the sprits of individuals who normally go unseen. The blown-up images pasted on urban surfaces – the sides of buildings, bridges, trains, buses, on rooftops -- confront and engage audiences where they least expect it. Images of Parisian thugs are pasted up in bourgeois neighborhoods; photos of Israelis and Palestinians are posted together on both sides of the walls that separate them.
JR's most recent project, "Women Are Heroes," depicts women "dealing with the effects of war, poverty, violence, and oppression” from Rio de Janeiro, Phnom Penh, Delhi and several African cities. And his TED Prize wish opens an even wider lens on the world -- asking us all to turn the world inside out. Visit insideoutproject.net ...
“The city’s the best gallery I could imagine. I would never have to make a book and then present it to a gallery and let them decide if my work was nice enough to show it to people. I would control it directly with the public in the streets.”
“I don’t use any brand or corporate sponsors. So I have no responsibility to anyone but myself and the subjects.”
“Art is not supposed to change the world, to change practical things, but to change perceptions. Art can change the way we see the world. Art can create an analogy.”
“We didn't push the limit; we just showed that they were further than anyone thought.”
“Can art change the world? Maybe … we should change the question: Can art change people's lives?”
“Do you know what it takes to do [a global art project]? People, energy, glue.”