HORIZONTAL, JR’s first solo gallery show in New York City


HORIZONTAL, JR’s first solo gallery show in New York City


JR’s first solo show in New York City features on two floors approximately 30 new works, including a series of mechanical sculptures and a video projection. With his electric trains and model container ship, JR evokes the spirit of childlike wonderment and play. Mechanical train cars move forward and backward on their rails, converging and diverging to produce the image of a face that vanishes as soon as the train cars move again. In his model cargo ship, mechanical arms load and unload containers, the building blocks of a gaze.

Vertical is hierarchy, fall or ascension, the bars of a prison. Horizontal is balance, quiet and love, it’s a far away goal. Through notions of travel, exile, journey, JR is looking for this horizontal harmony, social and hopeful. With his electric trains and his huge boat, JR talks about travel through chilhood games.

The gaze is an ongoing theme for JR, and HORIZONTAL presents a new take on this as he introduces glass as a support for images of eyes. Some works isolate a single eye on a double floating pane, while works like Inside Out, Ramallah – Tel-Aviv combine the eyes of two individuals across border walls and political divides.

For this show, JR has staged an intervention on the gallery building’s historic facade, as a human figure installed on a steel armature, appears to peek into the interior of the building. This work is reminiscent of JR’s Kikito installation (2017), the image of a child peering over the Mexican border wall, similarly mounted on scaffolding.

New works by JR take up the four-color printing process of printed advertising posters. This harkens to many of JR’s in situ wheat paste installations, but re-introduces color and embraces the dotted, graphic sensibility of this particular technical process. Shown alongside these works are the four-color plates that are used for printing ‘billboards,’ affording the viewer a glimpse into JR’s process. “It is with these plates of bright colors that the images are printed. Even those who send us back to anxious situations are made up of bright, cheerful reds, yellows and blues. Each of these colors is essential for the constitution of an image,” explains JR.

JR explores new territories while remaining true to his approach of asking questions through artistic installations. The giant eye wheat-pasted on the roof of the gallery in Lower Manhattan is that of Mayra, a “Dreamer,” visible only from the sky of New York, city of dreams and possibilities. Despite the installation’s horizontal orientation, her gaze is cast upwards.

June 28 – August 17, 2018
PERROTIN 130 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002

In September 2017, JR created a huge scaffolding installation on the Mexican side of the border between the United States and Mexico. An immense image of Kikito, a one year old boy from the city of Tecate, looked playfully over the infamous border wall. On October 8th, 2017 for the last day of his installation, JR organized a gigantic picnic on both sides of the fence. Kikito, his family and hundreds of guests came from the US and Mexico to share a meal together, around the eyes of a Dreamer, eating the same food, sharing the same water, enjoying the same music (half of the band on each side).