Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Face Near You



Sometimes art raises questions.
Sometimes artistic expression is political.
Sometimes art provokes.
Sometimes art conveys joy where we would not expect joy to exist.

Guerrilla art. Pervasive art. Both terms describe works by JR, a twenty seven year old French artist who was just awarded the 2011 TED prize - $100,000 and a chance to change the world. (Last year's recipient was Jamie Oliver whose wish was to change the way the world eats.)

The trailer above for JR's Women Are Heroes film (shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010) is intense. It explores the dignity (or indignity) of women who are often targets during conflict. This is the theme of JR's 2008 Women Are Heroes exhibition where he photographed the faces of women from different parts of Africa who had each suffered much hardship. He then posted the photos in huge format in their own cities - in the streets, on buses, on the sides of buildings. The exhibition and the film both express pain and joy in the midst of art, culture and politics.

As far as JR's exhibitions go, I would love to hear your response to the question - which is the actual art  - the original photograph or the installation? There can be no doubt that effects of each are very different.

To see more about and from JR, but not to actually see him as prefers anonymity, click here to visit his website. There are images from other exhibitions and it is a real treat.

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