JR, ‘The Wrinkles of the City, Action in Shanghai, Shi Li, work in progress, Chine’, 2010, JR Studio

The Wrinkles of the City / Les sillons de la ville / Los Surcos de a Ciudad /城市肌理, is a world scale project. For this project, JR starts by doing portraits of elderly people who represent the memory of the city he picks for its interesting past. Conjunctly JR interviews each person as they are the witnesses of all the changes the city went through. Then these portraits, printed in monumental sizes, are pasted in the very same city in various places that inspire JR and also represent the city heritage. For memory can stumble and fall, disappear any minute as the elder leave us, JR shows us that it is important not to forget what the elder have to pass to the young ones. Without judging, JR just gives us bits of History pages in an artistic, yet poetic, social and above all human way.JR takes his Wrinkles of the City project to Shanghai where the last century has been full of ups and downs : from the Japanese occupation, the establishment of the Communist Party, The Liberation, World War II, the end of the foreign concessions, the victory of Mao Zedong over the General Tchang Kaï-Chek’s troops, the Cultural Revolution, the Great Leap Forward to the actual development of the city ...

About JR

A semi-anonymous street artist of international renown, JR plasters giant, monochrome photographs of faces in urban centers—on rooftops and walls, in church windows, and along the sides of buses. Calling the street his gallery and “using art to turn the world inside out,” JR delivers a message of social action, telling the stories of the marginalized or voiceless. “Portrait d’une Generation” (2004-06) featured images of young African immigrants hamming for the camera, plastered in the Paris suburbs in the aftermath of major rioting; for his project “Face 2 Face” (2005-07), JR pasted huge images of similarly jovial Jews and Palestinians along the border marking disputed areas between Israel and Palestine. JR describes his practice as a continuation of the “tagging” he did as a young graffiti artist: “I’m tagging faces of persons,” he says. “They are the ones responsible for their image. When the people react to the project, it becomes their project.”

French, b. 1983