JR brings his Rio giants to London
The artist restages his monumental 2016 Brazilian Olympics project at new London gallery
Public artworks aren’t easy to present in a gallery setting. Consider JR’s GIANTS series, a set of huge installations the French artist and activist presented at the 2016 Rio Olympics. JR photographed a number of lesser-known athletes – such as the 27-year-old Sudan-born, Cologne-based high jumper Mohamed Younes Idriss – to create huge, black-and-white photo-prints-cum-sculptures, which he fitted to specially built scaffolding around the city.
It was one of the artist’s best-loved, and most prominent projects, yet it isn’t the kind of thing that you can squeeze into a white cube. However, the inaugural exhibition, opening on 12 January at Lazinc Sackville, manages to do just this.
This new London gallery is overseen by Wissam Al Mana, a Qatari businessman who was once married to Janet Jackson and Steve Lazarides, the British gallerist and Banksy’s former dealer. Lazarides has been working with JR since 2008, and in this show, the gallerists and artist reach beyond a quotidian show of finished works, to offer something more closely akin to a studio visit.
The debut exhibition, GIANTS - Body of Work, will present a series of unseen plans, prototypes and photographs taken from JR's project, detailing the artist’s process from start to finish, while the gallery’s frontage, at 29 Sackville Street in London’s Mayfair district, will be pierced by a huge sportsman, Fosbury flopping through the windows. What a winning way to start the year.
To find out more about JR’s life, work and outlook, order a copy of JR: Can Art Change the World? here.