This week the French photographer and artist JR is working in and with the city of Shanghai on a project called The Wrinkles of the City 城市肌理. The anonymous artist hit this week the international spotlights, as he received the 2011 TED Prize for his work. In preparation for his upcoming show at Magda Danysz Gallery in Shanghai, JR and his crew were working in a dilapidated area in Shanghai. MovingCities joined the artist on site, conducted an interview and returned with snapshots.
Last Wednesday, shortly after the announcement, the New York Times wrote a short introduction to JR’s work called ‘Award to Artist Who Gives Slums a Human Face‘. The project JR is currently working on in Shanghai, The Wrinkles of the City, deals with memory, aging, a city under transformation:
The project starts with portraits of elderly people who represent the memory of a city past. JR interviews each person and records the changes witnessed in the city. Then these portraits, printed in monumental sizes, are pasted in the very same city in various places that inspire JR and represent the city’s heritage. Memory can stumble and fall – disappear any minute as the elderly leave us – JR shows us that it is important not to forget what the elderly have to pass on to younger generations. Without any judgment, JR just gives us bits of history in an artistic, yet poetic, social and above all, human way.
Since 2001, JR has been working on similar projects in Paris, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Southern Sudan and Kenya and a project called ‘Israelis and Palestinians – Portrait of Twin Brothers’, upon which we stumbled in 2008 (see The Wall | Bethlehem snapshots).
As we love cities, art, the street, activism, action, anonymity, photography and destruction, we were pleased to witness of all this happening. Snapshots, before we follow up with an interview in a few weeks!
Pictures by movingcities.org
with special thanks to: