What will JR do to the Louvre pyramid?

He plans to turn the I M Pei landmark into an optical illusion as part of a new show - just how remains to be seen!
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JR au Louvre by JR. Image courtesy of the artist's Instagram
JR au Louvre by JR. Image courtesy of the artist's Instagram

Do you know what anamorphosis is? EH Gombrich explains the term in his book Art and Illusion. It's the technique whereby oblique, distorted or curved images, when viewed from the right point, or through a certain lens or mirror, resolve themselves into a recognizable shape. Artists have used it for centuries; one of the most famous examples is the flattened, stretched skull towards the bottom of Hans Holbein the Younger’s 1533 painting, The Ambassadors.

Later this summer, the French street artist JR plans to employ anamorphic techniques on a much larger scale, when he stages a solo exhibition at the Louvre, taking over one of the museum’s best-known aspects, its glass pyramid designed by I M Pei.

Some Parisians may already think their eyes are deceiving them, since, until a few years ago, JR was the kind of artist more used to pasting up his works illegally around the streets of their city, rather than showing them inside (and outside) its leading artistic institution.

 

Stop thief! JR inside the Louvre, 2015. Image courtesy of the artist's Instagram
Stop thief! JR inside the Louvre, 2015. Image courtesy of the artist's Instagram

However, JR au Louvre, which will run 25 May to 28 June, proves just how far the artist has come, since he first found fame after the Parisian riots of 2005. Exact details of the way in which he will work with this huge glass-walled structure, created by the Chinese-American architect IM Pei in 1989, are yet to be confirmed. However, if his existing work is anything to go by, it’s likely to be impressive, popular - and big on social media. For more on the exhibition, go here; for greater insight into JR’s life work work, order a copy of our monograph, here.


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