29 - 30 May 2016

How does a place like the Louvre accommodate an artist like JR? After all, he was until recently better known for pasting his pictures up in the streets, rather than inside galleries.


The Parisian institution responded by giving the French ‘photograffeur’ free rein of its museum, enabling JR to paste-up a trompe l'oeil-style panoramic picture on to the side of its glass pyramid, and stage a full day’s worth of events in and around the Louvre.


I.M. Pei’s iconic glass pyramid at the Louvre was subject to great debate when it was commissioned and completed in the 1980s but quickly became accepted as a beloved icon of Paris. For one weekend in May, French artist known as JR offered visitors a glimpse of the museum sans pyramid. The self-described “photograffeur” achieved a kind of trompe l’oeil effect with his signature method of large-scale, black-and-white photography. He then invited his chinese fellow Liu Bolin for a unique performance.

JR is known for his highly visible wheatpastes in major cities all over the world, his sometime collaborator Liu Bolin has made his name by disappearing into the background. The Chinese artist literally paints himself into his photographs — not after the fact but physically, in the scenes themselves. Thus, JR’s two-day “camouflage” project culminated with a joint performance. Documentation of the publicly staged piece is available as the latest edition of Liu’s ongoing “Hidden in the City” series of works via Magda Danysz gallery, which represents both artists.