JR celebrates French health heroes on the site of the Bastille
The artist has installed a new work on the site of the prison stormed by French revolutionaries 231 years ago
How did you mark Bastille Day? Possibly not in as fitting a manner as the French artist, activist and Phaidon author, JR. On 14 July he shared the latest work created as part of his Inside Out Project, in which community groups celebrate everyday folk by producing huge, group public portrait installations.
This new work adorns l'Opéra Bastille, home of the French national opera company, and lies site of the Bastille prison, on Place de la Bastille in Paris, stormed by French revolutionaries on 14 July 1789.
The posters don’t feature the portraits of those old heroes, but instead the faces of 500 latter-day champions of the people: healthcare workers and hospital staff, and others who have helped the country in its struggle against Covid 19. The shoot was organized in conjunction with the charity Protege Ton Soignant.
“The faces that represent all those who worked for our health in the past months,” said JR in his accompanying Instagram post. “Thank-you to them and to all those who supported them during the crisis.”
If you’re fortunate enough to be in Paris this month, you can catch the work in person; it will remain on display until 29 July. If not, why not familiarise yourself with this important, impressive contemporary artist by buying a copy of JR: Can Art Change the World?; it is the most comprehensive monograph on the enigmatic French artist, and has been updated to include brand-new work. Find out more here.