Here’s Matt Black‘s latest film portrait of one of our most important contemporary artists to date, JR, the self-described ‘photograffeur’. Entitled ‘JR:BLOW UP’, we get to hear from JR himself on his road to stardom from his small beginnings of tagging Parisian streets to the camera he found on the Metro which catapulted him into using photography as a means to evoke, provoke + occasionally, unite. By using photography on a larger scale, for the artist, size as well as reach, is as critical to his message.
Now a TED Prize-winner, JR’s gargantuan hand-pasted images to urban detritus, in the form of crumbling buildings, trains, garbage trucks and bridges, seems to create a sense of momentary peace, to take pause and look, hoping to figure out the subject’s thoughts + or emotions, or that of the photographer (I especially love his pieces involving eyes, where one could get lost in the many stories behind them). Part of his ‘Reflection’ series, the artist has now created a new system that allows everyone to print and post works in their own hoods, all for free to which Black says, ‘It’s true art. That’s why people want to participate.’
Of museum shows including those at the Centre Pompidou in Paris + the Los Angeles MoCA, the artist displays his work a lot differently than he would in the streets – works meant for the street, he leaves on the street. ’The street is not just the only biggest gallery that exists, but it is also a space that can’t reproduce on the inside because it touches people that could never step inside,’ JR says.