Bert de Muynck | MovingCities published in a recent issue of Mark Magazine #30 an interview with French photographer and artist – and recipient of the prestigious 2011 TED Prize – JR. The publication is a follow-up on last October’s encounter with the ‘artivist’ while he and his crew where working in and with the city of Shanghai 上海 on a project called The Wrinkles of the City 城市肌理. Now online.
From the interview:
I ask JR what he thinks of the state of the city. What do these urban areas say to him? ‘My work relates strongly to architecture, but in a paradoxical way,’ he says, ‘because I go to places with interesting architecture, but I’m there to highlight people. I use architecture as my canvas, while setting up a dialogue with the city in areas where walls are not covered with advertisements. This allows me to get closer to the people. I get into people’s lives, in fact, not by way of politics or advertising, but by way of art and activism.’ When I suggest he might be working in a context that architects fail to take advantage of, he objects. ‘No, I am simply highlighting parts of the city that are linked directly to the architecture and the people. You can’t say architects fail just because people build their own houses.’