JR: Women 25 May – 18 July, 2023 Pace Gallery Quai des Bergues, 15-17 Geneva
Geneva—Pace Gallery is pleased to announce JR: Women, a solo exhibition of photographic work by the internationally renowned French artist. Marking the artist’s first show in Switzerland since 2008, JR will present a film and a suite of photographs from his Women Are Heroes project.
This exhibition follows the release of his latest encyclopaedic book, Artist Until I Find a Real Job, published in April 2023. Known for his large-scale, outdoor photographic installations, JR’s practice is rooted in an exploration of identity, community, and social justice. His work is typified by monumental installations that transform urban settings and tackle cultural and socio-political issues. Through his portraits, JR brings individual experiences and stories to the broadest possible audience.
JR: Women showcases the Women Are Heroes project that the artist began in 2008 in Sierra Leone, before taking the project to Liberia, Kenya, Cambodia, India, Brazil, and France. Travelling through zones of conflict, JR found that women are commonly the primary victims of war, brutality, and political or religious fanaticism. In 28 Millimètres, Women are Heroes, Rispah Atemba, Sierra Leone (2008), JR intimately captures the image of a smiling woman resting her head on her hands. Her disposition is jubilant and full of energy despite the political upheavals in Sierra Leone, which was in a state of recovery following the end of a civil war.
JR displayed her portrait, and those of other women, on the side of trucks, buildings, and temporary structures as an act of resistance and hope. In placing the lives of local women on centre stage, JR’s work provides a space for them to freely express themselves however they chose.
JR’s practice underlines the crucial role that women play in society and highlights their dignity. Through an expressive and hopeful lens, the artworks celebrate the women’s heroism living through hardship. With an egalitarian approach to artmaking and an emphasis on collaboration, JR was often assisted by people from the neighbourhoods in installing and pasting the photographs.
Stressing the collaborative nature of his work, at the end of each project, a book was made and distributed to those who participated. Despite differing countries and stories, the women in the portraits shown in JR: Women are displayed in conversation with one another, united in their fortitude.
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