Thursday, October 21, 2010

TED Prize - Wishes big enough to change the world

JR : Winner of the 2011 TED PRIZE - the title above is TED's slogan.

This story from the TED blog today just grabbed my attention ...with good reason if you wish to read on! Click on the link above to see the excellent TED video and read more!

Reached by telephone on Wednesday morning on a bus in Shanghai, where he was headed to work on a largely unauthorized photo-pasting project to draw attention to the city’s demolition of historic neighborhoods, J R said that he had learned of the prize only two weeks ago and that he had not yet had time to think of a wish.
But he said that it would undoubtedly involve his kind of guerrilla art, which he has been creating with the help of volunteers in slums in Brazil, Cambodia and Kenya — where the outsize photographs, printed on waterproof vinyl, doubled as new roofs for ramshackle houses. “I’m kind of stunned,” he said of the prize. “I’ve never applied for an award in my life and didn’t know that somebody had nominated me for this.”
Randy Kennedy of the New York Times got an interview with JR, winner of the 2011 TED Prize, for the TimesFrom the story:

I have rather quickly posted these images and links ... I realised I'd been looking at his work here and there for a while ... this was the first time the story came together for me. You're possibly better informed about this artist that I was ...his story seemed well worth sharing ... just in case!

  • WOMEN - project. After his first visit in 2007 JR comes back in the slum of Kibera in Nairobi (Kenya). He set up 2000 vinyl square meters on the rooftops figuring the portraits of the women who are living in. He pastes also a whol train with eyes to create an anamorphosis with the faces set ont the railway slope through the slum - january 2009

  • WOMEN - project. JR comes back in Cambodia (Phnom Penh) and in India (New-Delhi and Jaïpur) for pasting actions in the streets. In Jaïpur he pastes huge white and sticky stencils to catch the dust and the colors within the context of Holi fest. Then eyes and gazes are reaveled - march 2009

  • WOMEN - Rio di Janeiro exhibition. 4 video installations in the Casa França Brasil, including the China House one unbuild the past year in the Morro da Providência. Pastings on the Arcos de Lapa, the teatro Joao Caetano and the Salla Cecilia Mireiles. Free exhibition from the april 24th to the june 21st 2009

  • WOMEN - project. JR launches the "Casa Amarela" Cultural Center in the Morro da Providência who set up with the community. A photo exhibition by the kidz is presented. - april 2009

  • ARLES, Rencontres de la Photographie - participation to the symposium the tuesday 07 july at 12.00 am. Theme : JR and the Participativ Art.

  • Text: website -

    Text here from

    JR owns the biggest art gallery in the world. He exhibits freely in the streets of the world, catching the attention of people who are 
    not the museum visitors. His work mixes Art and Act, talks about commitment, freedom, identity and limit.
    After he found a camera in the Paris subway, he did a tour of European Street Art, tracking the people who communicate messages 
    via the walls. Then, he started to work on the vertical limits, watching the people and the passage of life from the forbidden undergrounds 
    and roofs of the capital.
    In 2006, he achieved Portrait of a generation, portraits of the suburban "thugs" that he posted, in huge formats, in the bourgeois districts 
    of Paris. This illegal project became "official" when the Paris City Hall wrapped its building with JR's photos.
    In 2007, with Marco, he did Face 2 Face, the biggest illegal photo exhibition ever. JR posted huge portraits of Israelis and Palestinians 
    face to face in eight Palestinian and Israeli cities, and on the both sides of the Security fence / Separation wall. The experts said it would 
    be impossible. Still, he did it.
    In 2008, he embarked for a long international trip for "Women", a project in which he underlines the dignity of women who are often the 
    targets of conflicts. Of course, it didn't change the world, but sometimes a single laugher in an unexpected place makes you dream that 
    it could.
    JR creates "Pervasive Art" that spreads uninvited on the buildings of the slums around Paris, on the walls in the Middle-East, on the 
    broken bridges in Africa or the favelas in Brazil. People who often live with the bare minimum discover something absolutely unnecessary.
     And they don't just see it, they make it. Some elderly women become models for a day; some kids turn artists for a week. In that Art 
    scene, there is no stage to separate the actors from the spectators.
    After these local exhibitions, the images are transported to London, New York, Berlin or Amsterdam where people interpret them in the
     light of their own personal experience.
    As he remains anonymous and doesn't explain his huge full frame portraits of people making faces, JR leaves the space empty for an 
    encounter between the subject/protagonist and the passer-by/interpreter.
    This is what JR is working on. Raising questions...
    JR currently works on 2 new projects: Wrinkles of the City which questions the memory of a city and its inhabitants and Unframed, 
    which reinterprets in huge formats photos from important photographers taken from the archives of museums.



    Art said...

    How fantastic-- I love his work. Its a good choice for the TED prize

    Sophie Munns said...

    Hi Art....
    I thought that too...

    good to see them going out on a limb... given previous winners were the likes of Bill Clinton. This seems an inspired choice to motivate a kind of big picture thinking out the art community and every other community.
    I did wonder how he funds his work... and what a surprise to be nominated and then have someone contact you out of the blue... all the while knowing nothing about it!

    great to hear from you,
    see you!

    Dom said...

    magnifique coopération.
    Inspirante, ... il se passe tant de choses belles en cette période.
    J'aime la réflexion que vous offrez même si je dois me servir de google translate .. et que je comprends approximativement ce que vous dites.

    Sophie Munns said...

    hello Dom!.
    thank you for your kind message ... I will endeavour to translate so I can understand the context...thank you!

    Anonymous said...

    Wonderful post Sophie. I have been doing some catchup and finally had a chance to read this. I find the images so beautiful for so many reasons! Thank you for the great find.

    Sophie Munns said...

    Its very interesting the more you read about this work ... in the midst of anonymity ... to give face to the human stories....
    glad you dropped back in!
    see you,