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Filling the Pantheon With Selfies
Richard Lacayo June 12, 2014

Now, JR is back in Paris to unveil his most ambitious work yet, cloaking the Pantheon in thousands of the self-portraits he has solicited from people around the world. Built in the 18th century, the Pantheon is a mausoleum for French luminaries: Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Voltaire, Marie Curie and an additional 68 of the country’s most celebrated politicians, writers, artists and scientists are buried there. This year it begins an unprecedented decade-long structural renovation, and from now through October the building and its scaffolding will serve as a canvas for JR’s vision.

“A lot of monuments in Paris usually display advertising on their scaffolding,” JR says. “When the Center of National Monuments approached me with the idea of taking over the Pantheon’s scaffoldings, their mind was already set: they wanted me to do it, and they really kept an open mind. I had carte blanche to do whatever I wanted.”

何となく見たことがあるレベルの芸術家だったのですが、TEDで語ったturn the World inside outというプロジェクトが大きな反響を得ていたようですね。

Since then, JR has sought to remove himself from the photographic process. With the money he was awarded from the TED Foundation, he called for people to stand up for what they cared about “by participating in a global art project to turn the world Inside Out.” The concept was simple: JR would print and ship, to anywhere in the world, a poster-size version of any portrait uploaded to his website–as long as the subject also shared a statement about what he or she believes in. Suddenly, thousands of people began to replicate JR’s style, pasting images of themselves–whether printed by JR or not–on walls and buildings.

“It’s been amazing,” he says. “People in 130 to 140 countries around the world have been pasting posters in tens of thousands of cities, in places I’ve never been, from Afghanistan to Peru.”


Others have been equally inspired to continue the artist’s message–and his methods. In May, activists in Pakistan used Inside Out to install a large-scale portrait of an orphan to condemn U.S. drone strikes. “That massive image can be seen from a drone. They’ve done it to say that they’re here, that they exist,” JR says. “In this case, I didn’t actually print that image. They’ve respected the rules of the Inside Out project, but they printed it themselves and put it up themselves. It really shows that Inside Out is not mine anymore and that it will live on. The idea cannot be killed.”