French artist JR

July 13, 2015  |   Feature
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French artist JR (born 22 February 1983) works anonymously, but the giant images he pastes on buildings, streets, and bridges around the world are meant to put faces on often-ignored slices of society, from victims of crime to the elderly.

French artist JR poses with his public art installation "Actions" on the Terrace at Somerset House in London on October 7, 2013.
French artist JR poses with his public art installation “Actions” on the Terrace at Somerset House in London on October 7, 2013.

He has described himself as a “photograffeur”, he flyposts large black-and-white photographic images in public locations in a manner which is similar to the appropriation of the built environment by the graffiti artist. He started out on the streets of Paris. JR’s work often challenges widely held preconceptions and the reductive images propagated by advertising and the media.

JR, who has received a TED Prize for his work, sees the streets as his stage and says he “owns the biggest art gallery in the world.”

Keep scrolling to see four of the artist’s most visually arresting works that are integrated into a specific site.

In early 2014, JR took portraits of dozens of people, and turned them into a collage around the dome of the Pantheon in Paris while it was under construction. The installation depicted "the diversity of the contemporary world." [ABOVE] More of the artist's portraits were displayed under the dome of the Pantheon in Paris.
In early 2014, JR took portraits of dozens of people, and turned them into a collage around the dome of the Pantheon in Paris while it was under construction. The installation depicted “the diversity of the contemporary world.”
[ABOVE] More of the artist’s portraits were displayed under the dome of the Pantheon in Paris.
JR covered the walls of homes in favela Providencia in Rio de Janeiro with photographs of women in 2008. The project, called "Women Are Heroes," depicted women whose relatives were the victims of clashes between police and drug traffickers.
JR covered the walls of homes in favela Providencia in Rio de Janeiro with photographs of women in 2008. The project, called “Women Are Heroes,” depicted women whose relatives were the victims of clashes between police and drug traffickers.
Starting in 2011, JR and his team photographed individuals as part of a global project called "Inside Out."  portraits were pasted on walls in a central part Shanghai. A different part of "Inside Out" was displayed on the roof of a foot bridge at Hong Kong's Financial Central District in 2012.
Starting in 2011, JR and his team photographed individuals as part of a global project called “Inside Out.” portraits were pasted on walls in a central part Shanghai. A different part of “Inside Out” was displayed on the roof of a foot bridge at Hong Kong’s Financial Central District in 2012.
For "Wrinkles of the City," JR's plastered murals of the elderly around various cities. In this photo, a bird flies past Berlin's decorated television tower.
For “Wrinkles of the City,” JR’s plastered murals of the elderly around various cities. In this photo, a bird flies past Berlin’s decorated television tower.