London’s Saatchi Gallery Is Giving French Street Artist JR His Largest Solo Exhibition Ever

Organized with the Brooklyn Museum, the exhibition is the artist’s first major solo show in the UK.

JR, Migrants, Mayra, Picnic across the border, Tecate, Mexico - U.S.A.(2017). ©JR-ART.NET
JR, Migrants, Mayra, Picnic across the border, Tecate, Mexico - U.S.A.(2017). ©JR-ART.NET

London’s Saatchi Gallery will present the first major solo exhibition of work by the French street artist JR in the UK this fall. Organized by the Brooklyn Museum, the survey exhibition looks back at some of the artist’s most memorable projects from the past 15 years.

The show includes photographs, films, and documentation of the artist’s installations. Titled “JR: Chronicles,” it is the largest ever solo exhibition of JR’s work, and will run November 13 of this year through February 9, 2021. In the show, Brooklyn Museum curators Sharon Matt Atkins and Drew Sawyer track the artist and photographer’s rise from his early documentation of Paris’s graffiti scene as a teenager through his large-scale installations in cities all over the world today.

The show debuted at the Brooklyn Museum last year, but the London iteration will be an expanded presentation featuring documentation of JR’s large-scale project created for the 30th anniversary of the Louvre last year, The Secret of the Great Pyramid, as well as the 2019 work Tehachapi, which chronicles his work with inmates in a maximum security prison in California.

Laura Uccello, the Saatchi’s director of partnerships, says the exhibition is opening at “a key moment in time in which social engagement and the power of communities have taken center-stage in London and around the world.”

JR, 28 Millimeters: Portrait d'une generation, Amad, Paris, Bastille(2004). ©JR-ART.NET

JR, 28 Millimeters: Portrait d’une generation, Amad, Paris, Bastille(2004). ©JR-ART.NET

Highlights from the artist’s early works include the 2004-06 project Portrait of a Generation, for which he and the filmmaker Ladj Ly took portraits of young people living in the Les Bosquets housing projects in Paris, which was a center of the 2005 riots. The pair wheat-pasted the portraits throughout Paris to bring attention to the misrepresentation of young people from the projects in the media.

Later works include JR’s controversial 2007 project Face 2 Face, featuring giant diptych portraits of Israeli and Palestinian people who held the same jobs, and his 2017 film project highlighting worker solidarity in rural France, Faces Places, co-directed with the late French filmmaker Agnès Varda.

“JR: Chronicles” runs November 13 through February 9, 2021 at Saatchi Gallery in London, with major support from Art Explora.


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