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JR presents "GIANTS, PEEKING AT THE CITY, HAVANA, CUBA"



JR, born in France in 1983, is an artist who exhibits freely in the streets, communities and public spaces of the world, catching the attention of people who are not typical museum visitors.

His work mixes Art and Action; it tackles themes such as commitment, freedom, community and identity.


In April 2019, for the 13th Havana Biennial, JR was invited by Galleria Continua to paste on the outside wall of the gallery ARTE CONTINUA. He sets as protagonist of a new GIANTS’ work Alain, a little boy who lives in Havana’s Chinatown and plays every day at the foot of the former cinema Águila de Oro, the building that houses Galleria Continua. 

This installation gives the child’s peeking over the wall another dimension: while making visible the invisible, it directs our look towards new perspectives.


JR had already undertaken several projects in Havana. In May 2012 he collaborated with Cuban-American artist José Parlá on the The Wrinkles of the City project:  a huge mural installation in Havana, undertaken for the 11th Havana Biennale, for which JR and Parlá photographed and recorded 25 senior citizens who had lived through the Cuban revolution, creating portraits which Parlá, who is of Cuban descent, interlaced with palimpsestic calligraphic writings and paintings. Parlá’s markings echo the distressed surfaces of the walls he inscribes, and offer commentary on the lives of Cuba’s elders; together, JR and Parlá’s murals marvellously animate a city whose walls are otherwise adorned only by images of its leaders.


JR's blown-up photographs are pasted on mainly urban surfaces such as the sides of buildings, bridges, rooftops and even trains. Not only do they confront the public audience, they help engage audiences where they least expect it while involving their respective communities in an artistic action that consolidates their relationship to their immediate surroundings; JR’s art is about asking questions and opening a conversation between people. 


Lorenzo Fiaschi, co-founder of Galleria Continua, talks about working with JR and his project in Cuba. 


GIANTS, PEEKING AT THE CITY, HAVANA, CUBA

2019

inkjet print on pasted paper

site specific dimensions

From the catalogue: JR, Thierry Cosigny "JR - GÉANTS JO RIO"

Text by: Thierry Cosigny

Publisher: Edition Actes Sud, 2018


Lines intersect and form a three-dimensional spider web. Photographed against the light, silhouettes stand out across the lines against a colorless sky. First image sent from Rio by JR on Instagram. Caption: "My craziest piece.”


"Craziest"? The artist who pasted patibular mouths on the buildings of Monfermeil and portraits of imams and rabbis on a separation wall of Israel - and made the imams and rabbis paste their portraits themselves - who, by sticking their eyes on a train and their mouths on the slope of the shanty town it crossed, brought to life the faces of the inhabitants of Kibera, who, in Rio already, pasted the faces of women on the houses and stairs of the favela Morro Providência, who convinced the dockers of Le Havre to paste the immense glance of a Kenyan woman on hundreds of containers embarked on the largest boat of the world, who brought thousands of anonymous people to the Pantheon, who woke up migrants from Ellis Island and made the Louvre pyramid disappear, who has multiplied its own work by hundreds of thousands of participants in its Inside Out project around the world, this artist now promises us his "craziest work”?


When the real "craziest piece" machine is launched in Rio, the virtual machine starts. One million people in the world, plus the few millions to whom they will share the image of the scaffolding on social networks, learn that the young French artist launches a new adventure, “Craziest", GIANT!

GIANTS, Alain, April 13, 11.05 a.m., Havana, Cuba

2019

Four color print on paper, mounted on a cotton canvas, aluminium frame, offset printing plate, silkscreen printing, light oak frame

160 x 116 cm

62,9 x 45,7 inch 

Ed. 4

GIANTS, Alain, April 13, 08.22 p.m., Havana, Cuba

2019

Four color print on paper, mounted on a cotton canvas, aluminium frame, offset printing plate, silkscreen printing, light oak frame

160 x 116 cm

62,9 x 45,7 inch 

Ed. 4