Has JR gone loco?
The artist pairs toy locomotives with his famous face photographs at an innovative new show in southern France
'Mind the gap' became familiar phrase for Londoners during the late 1960s, when an automated voice used these words to would warn travellers about the space between the carriages and the platform. Over the years it has been used to describe other gaps, such as between the rich and the poor, or one person and another.
JR's new exhibition, Mind the Gap, at Chateau La Coste in southern France, certainly evokes the phrase's original use, but also seems to acknowledge its more recent uses.
The show is, in one sense, a model train installation. Rings of toy locomotives ring a specially built cylindrical frame inside the Chateau's Renzo Piano pavilion. However, the exhibition, which opened a few days ago and runs until February, recalls many of JR's public art projects, such as his 2009 Women are Heroes project, wherein he visited places such as Kenya, photographed key female figures in poor communities, such those living Nairobi's huge informal settlement Kibera, and pasted their faces on to roofs, hillsides and even train carriages.
Mind the Gap takes the same idea – photographs of faces – and plays around with it a little. The stacked trains pull images of eyes, noses and mouths, and run at slightly different speeds, shuffling these monochrome facial features, until one face resolves into another.
Watch these spinning locomotives for long enough and perhaps you'll rethink your ideas of individualism within the masses of faces on display.
For more on JR's life and work order a copy of JR: Can Art Change the World? Here.