As Paris’ famous Louvre Pyramid, designed by I.M. Pei, celebrates its 30th anniversary, artist JR has created a giant collaborative piece of art filling up the entire Napoleon Court.
The huge installation of the French photographer JR in the courtyard of the Louvre shows a gigantic pyramid that protrudes from a crater. Four hundred volunteers worked on the paper installation for the 30th anniversary of the glass pyramid for four days. It will be the largest photo collage of the internationally known artist.
“The mystery of the great pyramid” is the title of the monumental collage, which in its entirety can only be grasped from the air. Far from a precious fixture, the artwork is intended to be distressed and destroyed by pedestrians walking across the artwork. By Saturday morning, the homage was destroyed. Some visitors trampled over it with their feet; the paper became unstuck and disintegrated. Other Instagram-minded shutterbugs tore pieces torn off and took them home for souvenirs.
While onlookers may be distraught of by the turn of events, the artist took it in stride, even seeming to expect it.
He wrote: “The images, like life, are ephemeral. Once pasted, the art piece lives on its own. The sun dries the light glue and with every step, people tear pieces of the fragile paper. The process is all about participation of volunteers, visitors, and souvenir catchers.”
But for a moment in time, this massive optical illusion was certainly epic, and thankfully, plenty of people caught it on camera while it was still intact.
JR has fostered close collaboration and friendship with recently deceased nouvelle vague filmmaker Agnès Varda in the past few years. Together, they traveled through France with a photo-mobile to discover and capture their people and their stories. The resulting documentary “Augenblicke” was nominated for the Foreign Oscars in 2018.
The initials of his artist name stand for “Just Ridicule”, but JR’s messages are political. With his large-scale photos, he makes people visible who otherwise remain invisible. For example, the Banlieues inhabitants in Paris, women from slums in the project “Women are heroes”.