J.R. in Le Havre

jr, le havre

RIVAGES from SOCIAL ANIMALS on Vimeo.

I love this guy’s work. Quiet, very intimate, and made on a huge, HUGE scale, French artist J.R. goes about his work with an imaginative and deliberate resolution to get the stories he gathers out into the atmosphere. He says of his art, “In 2007, I started Women Are Heroes. To pay tribute to those who play an essential role in society, but who are the primary victims of war, crime, rape or political and religious fanaticism, I pasted portraits and eyes of women on a train in Kenya, a Favela in Brazil, a demolished house in Cambodia. They gave their trust and they asked for a single promise “make my story travel with you”. I did it: on the bridges of Paris and the walls of Phnom penh, the building of New York, etc. I wanted to finish Women Are Heroes with a ship leaving a port, with a huge image which would look microscopic after a few minutes, with the idea of these women who stay in their villages and face difficulties in the regions torn by wars and poverty facing the infinity of the ocean. This project took us 10 days, we pasted 2600 strips of paper on the containers with the dockers of the port … after all our hard work, we got to watch the ship leaving the port. I had no idea of what was in the other containers on the boat: stuff from people leaving a country to build a different life in another region, goods that will be transformed, worn, eaten in a different country. I have no idea where and how people will see this artwork but I am sure that some women far away will feel something…. that day when we left Le Havre, we were exhausted and proud.”

RIVAGES is a new film by Guillaume Cagniard returning to JR’s project completed this summer 2014 in the secluded port of Le Havre, France. The port is run by only men, dockers that inherit the profession from their fathers. The film pays tribute to these men who worked hard to make the largest pasting in the world, to bring the first woman’s eyes to the port, and to send the eyes to travel the seas of the world to Malaysia.

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