The Wrinkles of the City: Shanghai (English and Mandarin Chinese Edition)

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9788888493718: The Wrinkles of the City: Shanghai (English and Mandarin Chinese Edition)

JR takes on another city in his renowned global project: The Wrinkles of the City. This time, the French photographer has chosen to focus on the citizens of Shanghai and how they have grown as their city has changed around them. The elderly share their story of how they have watched their city suffer and become scarred through cultural, political and economic change. Now the withered faces of his subjects scar the walls of the city as JR stunningly fuses public art and portraiture. These people represent the memory of their city and act as the missing link between older and newer generations.
One such citizen, Li Lei, writes a message to JR at the start of the book, “JR, When you paste monumental photographs in the streets, you paste in a community, and the meaning of these images is not your personal thing, because their significance goes beyond what meets the eye. The observer meets reality and is forced to reflect.”
The 2011 TED prize winner, born in 1983, started off as a graffiti artist but turned to photography after finding a camera in a Paris metro station. Since then he has gone on to undertake a variety of projects using the side of buildings and other structures as his gallery. Heading back to his native country earlier this year, the artist chose to cover the famous Louvre Pyramid in one of his black and white photographs. The photographer recently also turned his own talents to directing the short film ‘ELLIS’. The narrative, starring Robert de Niro, centers around JR’s own unframed art on Ellis Island and the forgotten story of the immigrants who built America.

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About the Author:

JR owns the biggest art gallery in the world. He exhibits freely in the streets of the world, catching the attention of people who are not typical museum visitors. His work mixes Art with Act, talks about commitment, freedom, identity and limit. After he found a camera in the Paris subway, he did a tour of European Street Art, tracking the people who communicate messages via the walls. Then, he started to work on the vertical limits, watching the people and the passage of life from the forbidden undergrounds and roofs of Paris.
In 2006, he achieved Portrait of a Generation, portraits of the suburban “thugs” that he posted, in huge formats, in the bourgeois districts of Paris. This illegal project became “official” when the Paris City Hall wrapped its building with JR’s photos. In 2007, with Marco, he did Face 2 Face, the biggest illegal exhibition ever. JR posted huge portraits of Israelis and Palestinians face to face in eight Palestinian and Israeli cities, and on the both sides of the Security fence / Separation wall. The experts said it would be impossible. Still, he did it.
In 2008, he embarked on a long international trip for Women Are Heroes, a project in which he underlines the dignity of women who are often the targets of conflicts. At the same time, he created the project The Wrinkles of the City. JR aims to use the wrinkles of the inhabitants of a city to retell their history and memory of a country. He chose to visit cities where immense amounts of change have been experienced, such as Cartagena in Spain, Shanghai or Los Angeles.
In 2010, his film Women Are Heroes is presented at Cannes in competition for the Camera d’Or. In 2011, he received the Ted Prize, which offers him the opportunity to make “A wish to change the world”. He created InsideOut, an international participatory art project that allows people worldwide to get their picture and paste it to support an idea, a project, an action and share their experience.
JR creates “Pervasive Art” that spreads uninvited on the buildings of the slums around Paris, on the walls in the Middle-East, on the broken bridges in Africa or the favelas in Brazil. Some elderly women become models for a day; some kids turn artists for a week. In this type of Art scene, there is no stage to separate the actors from the spectators. After these local exhibitions, the images were transported to London, New York, Berlin or Amsterdam where people could interpret them in the light of their own personal experience.
As he remains anonymous and doesn’t explain his huge full frame portraits of people making faces, JR leaves the space empty for an encounter between the subject/protagonist and the passer-by/interpreter.
This is what JR’s work is about. Raising questions.

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