The work of French photographer JR is all about perception – how we process the world privately, and how his typically large-scale work fits within it publicly.
A recent image, full-height on the river-facing façade of London's Tate Modern as part of the museum's Street Art exhibition, portrayed a black man aiming what appeared to be a gun barrel straight up the Millennium Bridge but which, upon closer inspection, revealed itself to be a harmless video camera.
A new project, 28 Millimetres: WOMEN, depicts impoverished women the artist met in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, invisible figures resigned to lives of relentless crime, violence, and economic repression. Women unaccustomed to being celebrated, certainly, much less to having blown-up portraits of their faces plastered onto public infrastructure.
The startling effect, of black and white eyes peering out, somehow organically, from the tumble of buildings down the side of a mountain, or from the back of a pedestrian stairway, compels public conversation, thought, and ultimately recognition; it at once confirms and affirms these women's place in the world.
The work will be presented in a double show at Lazarides Gallery in London's Greek Street and Charring Cross linked, in between, by street art on the facades of city buildings mimicking the nature of the original project.