iSpy JR in London
Who: street artist JR
What: a 679cm high scaffold and paper sculpture of Fabrice Saint-Jean, a French national high jumper back-flipping through a first-floor window
Where: Mayfair, London
Following the serendipitous finding of a camera on the Paris Metro back in 2001, street artist JR’s photographic affair has grown exponentially, touching the hearts of people and places across all corners of the globe.
Responsible for the biggest illegal art exhibition ever, in 2016 made the Louvre disappear, he’s used the language of ballet to tell his story of the riots in France, and has even used his artwork to provide shelter for those in need; in Kebera – one of the largest slums in Africa, his photographs of women on the rooftops were printed onto vinyl so that their homes would be waterproof.
With the appearance of a gigantic sculptural artwork - synonymous to his installations at the Rio Olympics - which has popped-up scaffolded on the streets of London, we question what is it that makes his work so powerful?
BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP, its time to get up, you shower, brush your teeth, grab breakfast to go. One foot falls automatically in front of another as you make your daily commute, check your emails, sip your coffee. You look up to cross the road, and a two-story giant is suspended, upside down and back-flipping through the window of the building across the street; Interruptive by nature JR’s work physically marks the landscape, disrupting the everyday to delight and surprise…
It’s inclusive, ‘people who often live with the bare minimum discover something absolutely unnecessary. And they don't just see it, they make it. Some elderly women become models for a day; some kids turn artists for a week. In that Art scene, there is no stage to separate the actors from the spectators.’
JR leaves the space empty for an encounter between the subject/protagonist and the passer-by/interpreter; the most basic and fundamental principleof public art – it’s public. When referring to his paste up portraits JR says, “it’s just paper, and glue. People can tear it, tag on it, even pee on it…the people on the street, they are the curator”.
JR’s athletic artwork in London is a wonder to behold, we can’t wait to see what else the artist brings in 2018, watch this space!