October 1 - November 20, 2021
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Perrotin Tokyo is pleased to present a solo exhibition of JR's work, new or never seen before. Consisting of early iterations of his Unframed series, dating back to 2012, as well as brand-new works created in his home city of Paris during the pandemic, the artist revisits his roots throughout this show.


Exhibition view of JR "Contretemps" at Perrotin Tokyo. Photo by Kei Okano. ©JR / ADAGP 2021. Courtesy of the Artist & Perrotin.
Photo by Kei Okano. ©JR / ADAGP 2021. Courtesy of the Artist & Perrotin.
Photo by Kei Okano. ©JR / ADAGP 2021. Courtesy of the Artist & Perrotin.
Photo by Kei Okano. ©JR / ADAGP 2021. Courtesy of the Artist & Perrotin.

Much of JR's work deals with people whose stories would not be told otherwise — people whose lives are often obscured or hidden, by exhibiting their photographic likenesses on a monumental scale. With a similar relationship to architecture, inaccessible spaces and famous, over-photographed locations succeed in finding new language through JR’s lens.


Inspired by the iconic photograph, The Lovers of the Bastille (1957) by Willy Ronis, he hoped to recreate the image for the present day. JR’s reinterpretation depicts a couple, ballerinas both, floating in an embrace at the summit of Paris. These photographs were taken early 2021, a time when Paris, as indeed every other city, was cut off from the rest of the world. Taken from the vantage point of the roof of the Opera Bastille, these works give us a glimpse of the Paris skyline — but of a particular view that has been obscured from the public since the closure of the national monument in 1985.


For his on-going series Unframed, JR finds archival photographs that he often blows up to larger-than-life proportions, which he then pastes in architecturally diverse locations. This particular iteration, inspired from photographs taken by press photographer Watabe Yukichi, took place in 2012, while JR traveled throughout Japan, and interlaced these photographs, which infer historical situations, pasted on abandoned buildings in Matsuo and obscure outcroppings of rock, across mining towns long forgotten.


Rather than replacing the photographs on the site they were taken, JR looks to create new stories, crossing the paths of the archival photographs and their new, often impenetrable location, places that may remain with their pastings untouched for years to come. These abandoned locales carry their own weighted histories, ghost towns with their own stories to tell. In recontextualizing these architectural sites, JR opens up a dialogue between the past and the present, nudging the viewer to contemplate the ever-changing layers of history that comprise our cities, within the realm of public spaces and private spheres.


Exhibition view of JR "Contretemps" at Perrotin Tokyo. Photo by Kei Okano. ©JR / ADAGP 2021. Courtesy of the Artist & Perrotin.

Born in 1983 in Paris, France
Lives and works between Paris, France and New York, NY, USA

JR works at the intersection of photography, street art, filmmaking and social engagement. Over the last two decades he has developed multiple public projects and numerous site-specific interventions in cities all over the world: from buildings in the slums around Paris, to the walls in the Middle East and Africa or the favelas of Brazil. Recent solo exhibitions of his work include The Chronicles of San Francisco at SFMOMA, San Francisco (2019), JR: Chronicles at the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn (2019) and Momentum, la mécanique de l’épreuve at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris (2018).

JR is also the director of two full-length documentaries: Women Are Heroes (2011) and, with Agnès Varda, the Academy Award-nominated Faces and Places (2017).

JRは、写真、ストリート・アート、映像、さらに社会的関与を織り交ぜた作品を制作しています。過去20年以上にわたり、パリ周辺のスラム街の建造物から、中東やアフリカの壁面、ブラジルのファヴェーラ(貧民街)に至るまで、世界中の都市で数多くの公共プロジェクトやサイト・スペシフィックな作品を展開してきました。近年の個展に「The Chronicles of San Francisco」(2019年、サンフランシスコ近代美術館)、「JR: Chronicles」(2019年、ブルックリン美術館)、「Momentum, la mécanique de l'épreuve」(2018年、ヨーロッパ写真美術館[パリ])などがあります。また、JRは長編ドキュメンタリー映画の監督として、『Women Are Heroes』(2011年)、アニエス・ヴァルダとともに、アカデミー賞ノミネート作品『Faces and Places』(2017年)を制作しました。

More about the artist
List of artworks