Saturday, February 26, 2011
"To change the way you see things is already to change things themselves"
"To change the way you see things is already to change things themselves," so says the street artist and photograffeur known as JR, profiled by Gaby Wood in this Sunday's New York Times Magazine. And it is hard to deny the truth of what JR says, especially given how extraordinarily arresting this street art is. All of his enormous, larger than life photographs that he pastes onto bridges, buildings, retaining walls, and hillsides are striking, but the most transformational ones are plastered on the rooftops and trains of the Kibera Slum of Nairobi, Kenya, and presented as a kind of two-page centerfold in the Times Magazine.
This picture of his art, shot from above, knocks you out. You've just never seen anything like it and then when you learn that a big part of his point is to bring attention to ordinary women who make such a difference to the everyday lives of people in Kenya, you know you're seeing something meant not only to change how we see the world, but also, as JR says, to change the world itself. No wonder his art has begun to fetch high prices. But JR doesn't care about that particularly, other than to help fund future projects. It's creating a better world that he's after, and this is his unique and unforgettable way of accomplishing that.