French Street Artist JR Honoured with First Retrospective in Qatar

View of JR’s Giants in Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympic Games © JR-ART.NET
View of JR’s Giants in Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympic Games © JR-ART.NET
Photo of Freire Barnes
Art & Design Editor23 February 2017

He’s pasted his ginormous black-and-white imagery on the exterior of Tate Modern, along the Seine and on the rooftops of Brazilian favelas. Now, acclaimed French artist JR is getting his first major Middle Eastern retrospective at Qatar Museums.

World-renowned for his distinctive use of photographic imagery that emphasises individuality regardless of race, gender, or culture, JR isn’t your average street artist. Rather, his ambitious large-scale urban interventions address pertinent political and societal issues.

JR’s Giants in Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympic Games | © JR-ART.NET

Using what he calls ‘the largest art gallery in the world’, JR employs the urban environment of cities around the world to create his ‘Pervasive Art’. Retaining a certain sense of anonymity, his evocative visual propositions invite questions from passersby instead of dictating specific messages.

The Wrinkles of the City, Istanbul, Kadir an, Turkey | © JR-ART.NET / Courtesy Galerie Perrotin
‘The Wrinkles of the City, Los Angeles’ – ‘Robert’s eye’, Façade of Galerie Perrotin, Paris | © JR-ART.NET / Courtesy Galerie Perrotin

Featuring many of his key works, the retrospective will introduce this important artist to a new audience, as well as giving fans the opportunity to experience his celebrated ephemeral pieces.

’28 Millimètres : Women Are Heroes’ Pasting in Monrovia streets, Liberia | © JR-ART.NET / Courtesy Gallerie Perrotin

In 2008, JR embarked on one of his most poignant projects, ‘Women Are Heroes’, which documented women living in areas of conflict. Instead of the harrowing photographs one might expect, JR’s powerful portraits portrayed resilient, spirited and animated characters who were surviving amidst unimaginable atrocity.

‘Inside Out, Au Panthéon!’, Dome, Paris, France | © JR-ART.NET / Courtesy Galerie Perrotin

During a TED Conference in 2011 – at which he also received the prestigious TED Prize – JR initiated a global art project that would encompass people from all over the world. Through photographic portraits, the ‘Inside Out Project’ was created, narrating the untold stories of communities from more than 130 countries.

A Survey Exhibition at HOCA , Hong Kong | © JR-ART.NET / Courtesy Galerie Perrotin
‘Unframed, An immigrant family views the Statue of Liberty from the Ellis Island Immigration Station dock’ | © JR-ART.NET / Courtesy Galerie Perrotin and National Park Service, Statue of Liberty National Monument, USA
Decade: Portrait d’une génération | © JR-ART.NET / Courtesy Galerie Perrotin
JR exhibition at Museum Frieder Burda, Baden-Baden, Germany | © JR-ART.NET / Courtesy Galerie Perrotin
JR installation on the Louvre Pyramid, Paris | © JR-ART.NET / Courtesy Galerie Perrotin
‘Unframed, a group posing in a bark moored on the beach, reviewed by JR, circa 1930, Marseille, France’ | © JR-ART.NET / Courtesy Galerie Perrotin

JR’s Retrospective will be held by Qatar Museums at QM Gallery Katara in Doha, 9 March to 31 May 2017.

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