The Wrinkles of the City: Los Angeles
JR is back with the next instalment of his worldwide project The Wrinkles of the City. This time the visionary artist focuses on the people of Los Angeles. Is it really as superficial as the media paints it?
JR knows how to hold up a mirror to a community. “In the home of the moving image,” Jane Rosenthal writes, “he has used his still photographs – stunningly magnified and arrestingly positioned – to prompt profound questions about what a meaningful life entails.”
This is JR’s way of reminding us that we are all witnesses to the triumphs and outrages of our generation. As he photographs his subjects, he listens to their fascinating life stories and immortalises the only witnesses left of the past. Los Angeles is where the Hollywood myth was born, where glamour and beauty of the city has come to define it. For this project, JR juxtaposes the imperfection and the meaning which is held in the wrinkles of the elderly with the image of ‘perfection’ and regenerated beauty that has become a hallmark of the 21st Century.
The Wrinkles of the City: Shanghai
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.
In Wrinkles of the City: Shanghai, 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 portraiture with public art. 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.”