2011 TED Prize Winner JR owns the biggest art gallery in the world. He exhibits freely in the streets of the world, catching the attention of people who are not the museum visitors. His work mixes Art and Act, talks about commitment, freedom, identity and limit.
After he found a camera in the Paris subway, JR did a tour of European Street Art, tracking the people who communicate messages via the walls. Then, he started to work on the vertical limits, watching the people and the passage of life from the forbidden undergrounds and roofs of the capital.
In 2006, he achieved Portrait of a generation, portraits of the suburban “thugs” that he posted, in huge formats, in the bourgeois districts of Paris. This illegal project became “official” when the Paris City Hall wrapped its building with JR’s photos.
In 2007, with Marco, he did Face 2 Face, the biggest illegal photo exhibition ever. JR posted huge portraits of Israelis and Palestinians face to face in eight Palestinian and Israeli cities, and on the both sides of the Security fence / Separation wall. In 2008, JR embarked for a long international trip for “Women”, a project in which he underlines the dignity of women who are often the targets of conflicts.
JR creates “Pervasive Art” that spreads uninvited on the buildings of the slums around Paris, on the walls in the Middle-East, on the broken bridges in Africa or the favelas in Brazil. 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.
After these local exhibitions, the images are transported to London, New York, Berlin or Amsterdam where people interpret them in the light of their own personal experience.
At TED 2011, JR made his audacious TED Prize wish: to use art to turn the world inside out. Learn more about his work and learn how you can join in at InsideOutProject.net. To see more of JR’s work, visit JR-art.net. The TED video below (after the photos) is 24 minutes but truly inspiring to watch, so if you have the time, I check it out.