JR is a French artist born in Paris on February 22, 1983. Jean René, his real name, grew up in Montfermeil in the Paris region. His parents owned a stand at the Clignancourt flea market, which is why JR spent a lot of time at the markets. He studied at the Lycée Stanislas in Paris and started to practice graffiti as a teenager.
JR unpretentiously considers that he owns the biggest art gallery in the world. Indeed, thanks to the technique of photographic collage, he can expose freely on the walls of the whole world, he thus attracts the attention of the passers-by and the neighborhood, he allows people who do not frequent the museums and the art galleries to open with art. Whenever JR passes somewhere, he creates an event and leaves unforgettable memories for the people who have seen his art installations.
His first art project dates back to 2004, JR started near his home in Clichy-Montfermeil with the 28 Millimètres project. Then he led Face 2 Face in the Middle East in 2007, Women Are Heroes in Kenya between 2008 and 2011 which he presented at the Critics Week in Cannes.
JR defines his art as an "infiltrating art", during his collages, locals willingly lend themselves to the game by actively participating in the creative process. He also leaves a free interpretation to the viewers and does not wish to interfere between the viewer and the work.
In 2011, JR received the Ted Prize and launched Inside Out, an international art project that allows people around the world to receive a black and white print of their portrait and then paste it in support of an action, idea or project.
In collaboration with the New York City Ballet, JR created a ballet and short film in 2014 with music composed by Pharrel Williams, Hans Zimmer and Woodkid, it was presented at the Tribeca Film Festival. At the same time, JR was working in the abandoned hospital on Ellis Island, he made a short film with Robert de Niro called Ellis.
In 2016, JR was invited by the Louvre Museum to create a street art piece by making the famous Louvre pyramid disappear with an incredible anamorphosis. An already mythical creation that shows us JR's artistic touch. The street artist has also presented other monumental installations in Rio de Janeiro during the 2016 Olympic Games.
Now a well-known actor in contemporary art and now in world cinema, JR co-directed in 2017 the film Visages, Villages with Agnès Varda, this film was also screened the same year at the Cannes Film Festival but out of competition. The following year the film was awarded the Œil d'Or and was nominated for the Oscars and Césars in the category of best documentary.
We can also mention the project The Wrinkles of the City which was presented in several cities around the world, in Spain, China, the United States, Cuba, France, Turkey, Germany between 2008 and 2015.
In 2013, the first retrospective exhibitions of the French street artist's artistic work took place around the globe: in Tokyo at the Watari-Um Museum, at the CAC in Cincinnati, at the Frieder Burda Museum in Baden Vaden in 2014, at the Hoca Foundation in Hong Kong in 2015, at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in 2018, at the SFMOMA and the Brooklyn Museum in 2019.
JR is represented by leading art galleries Galleria Continua, Galerie Perrotin, PACE Gallery and Galerie Nara Roesler.
In 2009, Martine Valo describes JR's work in the newspaper Le Monde, she evokes "a revelator of humanity". Shepard Fairey (Obey) said about him in 2010: "JR is currently the most ambitious street artist. Fabrice Bousteau presents JR as "the one we already call the Cartier-Bresson of the 21st century."
About him, gallery owner Emmanuel Perrotin said, "One day, driving at high speed on a highway in Shanghai, I was impressed to recognize a gigantic photograph by JR, far out in the landscape, on a water tower. It fascinates me that such a young artist is making his artistic mark on cities around the world. And when I met him, we immediately decided to work together. I admire his energy, his ability to bring people together."
On August 13, 2015, journalist Jesse McCarthy called JR "an unflappable young French artist and humanist who goes by the moniker 'JR' and has emerged in recent years as one of the art world's most ambitious figures."
Recently JR has again made the news with actions in support of Ukraine across Europe, bringing together hundreds of people in Ukraine, Paris or Venice during the Biennale.
We are very pleased to present a shortlist of JR's works.
I want Art Shortlist to help me acquire a work by JR