Updated: Aug 3, 2021
If you want to experience the greatness of humanity around the world, the love a person's eyes can express, the hope through photography but also the heart of people, JR: Chronicles is the exhibition you can't miss at Saatchi Gallery in London.
Saatchi Gallery is now housing one of the most interesting exhibitions of 2021, JR: Chronicles. In collaboration with the Brooklyn Museum, this is French-artist's largest solo museum exhibition to date featuring some of his most iconic projects from the past fifteen years. Curate by Sharon Matt Atkins and Drew Sawyer, JR:Chronicles traces JR's career from his early documentation of graffiti artists as teenager in Paris, to his large-scale architectural interventions in cities worldwide.
“JR: Chronicles takes visitors on a global journey through the intimate storytelling of one of today’s most influential contemporary artists. The exhibition opens in London during a key moment in time in which social engagement and thepower of communities have taken centre-stage in London and around the world,”adds Laura Uccello, Partnerships Director at Saatchi Gallery.
As a vivid art lover, here at Darkus we had the pleasure to be invited to the journey of JR's life through his masterpiece creativity he decided to showcase around the world, it's important to highlight that every project is self-funded without sponsors and the aid of thousands of volunteers.
JR is a TED Prize winner, Oscar nominated filmmaker, and one of times 100 most influential people of 2018 He hasreceived critical acclaim for his global art projects that bring together diverse groups of participants and createdialogue around critical social issues, from women s rights to immigration, to gun control JR spotlights communitiesacross the world by photographing individual members of those communities and then wheat pasting their images—sometimes illegally—on a monumental scale usually reserved for advertisements featuring models, celebrities, and politicians. These installations are deliberately placed in public spaces near or within the communities with whom JR has partnered, allowing the individuals portrayed to remain at the centre of the discussions prompted by the artist’swork.
The first section of the exhibition traces JR’s artistic evolution, focusing on his commitment to community,collaboration, and civic discourse Early photographic projects are featured, including Expo 2 Rue (2001—4), where hedocumented and pasted photocopies of his community of graffiti artists in action, using the streets as an open gallery. Portrait ofa Ceneration (2004—6) features portraits of young people from Les Bosquets, a housing project in theParisian suburb of Montfermeil that became a central location for countrywide riots in 2005 amid rising socioeconomic and police tensions.
JR and his friend Ladj Ly, a filmmaker and resident of Les Bosquets, workedwith the community to capture portraits and then wheat pasted the images both in Montfermeil and throughout Paris.By bringing the faces of young people from the projects to prominence, JR and his collaborators brought attention tothe misrepresentation of these individuals in the media, thereby also challenging the public’s assumptions and biases.
JR expanded his practice and began to travel globally in the mid-2000s. In 2005, he travelled to Israel and Palestine andbegan a public art project similar to Portrait of a Generation. Face 2 Face (2007) featured giant portrait diptychs ofIsraelis and Palestinians pasted on either side of the separation wall and in several surrounding towns. The portraitswere of pairs of people— one Israeli and one Palestinian—who lived on opposite sides of the wall yet held the samejob: teachers, doctors, athletes, artists, and religious leaders; they were displayed side by side, without any signifiersindicating which were Israeli and which were Palestinian. At the time, it was considered the largest illegalphotography exhibition ever made in Israel, spanning over eight cities including Bethlehem, Tel Aviv, Ramallah, andJerusalem. Photographs, videos, and ephemera from the project will be on view. This project has been one of the most important of his career and one of the essential and most detailed rooms in the exhibition.
Other international projects on display include Women Are Heroes (2008), which honours the contributions ofwomen to public life by installing large-scale images of their eyes and faces in their own communities, and Inside Out (2011—ongoing), a global participatory art project that enables individuals to take and share their own portraits. Theexhibition also features the Wrinkles of the City (2008—15), a multicity project celebrating the oldest members ofsociety and the histories they can tell, installed in cities including Havana and Los Angeles; the film Faces Places (2017, co-directed with French filmmaker Agnés Varda, which follows the two artists as they travel around ruralFrance creating portraits to highlight worker solidarity; and the Cun Chronicles: A Story of America (2018, a videomural that visualises the complex spectrum of views on guns in the United States, including those of gun collectors,hunters, law enforcement officials, shooting victims, emergency room teams that treat victims of mass shootings, and lobbyists for the gun industry
Through his powerful storytelling abilities, collaboration with and commitment to community, and willingness to question power structures and institutions, JR has re-invented the medium of photography in the twenty-first century Showcasing photographs, films, and documentation of the artist’s installations, this major exhibitiondemonstrates how and why JR’s practice has managed to both capture the imagination of audiences worldwide andexpand the meaning of public art through participatory projects that give visibility and agency to a broad spectrum ofpeople.
Tickets are available HERE.
Now acclaimed worldwide, you can follow JR on @JR.