In 2016, JR created three major sculptural installations in conjunction with the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro that caught athletes in motion performing recognisable Olympic sports. But instead of focusing on household names, JR turned his lens onto lesser known sportsmen and women, who weren’t competing in the Olympics.
Entitled GIANTS, the black and white images of diving, high-jumping and swimming athletes were transformed into monumental three dimensional installations that were sited around Rio on large scaffolding structures.
Capturing the beauty of the physical moment, JR had the Cologne-based Sudanese high jumper Mohamed Youness Idress leap over a grand apartment block in the residential area of Flamengo and Brazilian diver Cleuson Lima do Rosario plunge into the sea at the Barra da Tijuca.
So to launch Steve Lazarides and Wissam Al Mana’s new gallery Lazinc on Sackville Street in London’s Mayfair, JR continues the theme of his GIANTS series and has unveiled a new 22-foot sculptural installation of giant legs emerging from the gallery’s first floor windows.
The legs belong to French national high jumper Fabrice Saint-Jean, with the athlete’s head and body landing in the ground floor of the gallery.
The 679cm high work forms the prelude to the French artist’s multidisciplinary solo show, GIANTS: Body of Work.
Taking over the 4,000 square-foot gallery, JR will showcase never before seen works that include the studio plans, drawings and prototypes used for the creation of the GIANTS display during the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.
A series of mixed media studies distill JR’s ginormous Olympic public installations into exquisite, unique and considerably smaller compositions, and includes a miniature version of the French triathlete Léonie Périault swimming in Rio’s Botafogo Bay.
The show follows his recent exhibitions in Berlin and installation on the US-Mexico border and continues a new way of presenting JR’s distinctive practice and working processes.
It is a rare chance to see the behind-the-scenes workings of one of the world’s most prominent street artists who puts the face of the ordinary, overlooked person at the forefront of his work; creating stunning evocative portraits of different cultures.
JR: GIANTS is at Lazinc 29 Sackville Street, Mayfair, London, W1S 3DX from January 12 to February 28, 2018.
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