JR: Retour à la caverne” at Palais Garnier

Lifestyle, Top Stories

JR: Retour à la caverne” at Palais Garnier

Like an opera libretto, JR’s transformation of Palais Garnier will take place in two monumental acts.

JR: Retour à la caverne” at Palais Garnier

As part of the Palais Garnier’s renovation, the Opéra National de Paris invited JR to transform the scaffolding on this temple of dance and music. The façade of the monument has undergone an anamorphosis, becoming the entrance of a vast cave that opens to a passage filled with rocks and light. The installation is visible from September 6th to 25th, 2023.

Retour à la caverne continues JR’s trompe l’oeil projects, which have taken over iconic sites such as the Louvre Museum, the Trocadero Esplanade, the Farnese Palace in Rome and the Strozzi Palace in Florence. Each installation is an invitation for viewers to change their perspective.

Like an opera libretto, JR’s transformation of Palais Garnier will take place in two monumental acts. The public is encouraged to participate in embroidery workshops and an Inside Out Photobooth throughout September and October to help create the second installation. Register to participate here.

Act I – L’entrée de la caverne

Referencing the stage sets of epic operas by Berlioz or Wagner and 19th century romanticism, in Act I, Palais Garnier appears to be stuck between two times. At first glance, the building seems to be in ruins, a reflection of the fragility and eternity of Parisian monuments. But upon closer inspection, the piece can also be interpreted as a work of art in permanent construction. Alongside the century-old building and natural formations, contemporary scaffolding is present, a nod to the real and necessary work that physically supports this installation and monument.

Walking up the Avenue de l’Opéra, visitors are invited to immerse themselves in this geological universe that evokes the origins of song and dance in Ancient Greece. Until the 6th century BC, Ancient Greek festivities celebrating the gods took place in caves. Through construction – the digging of large stalls and bleachers – these celebrations moved to cities and theater was born.

The Palais Garnier installation encourages viewers to return to a romanticism inspired by the natural world. The cave beckons viewers to peer inside, invoking Plato’s allegory of the cave – a place where the exit leads to knowledge and an understanding of the world.

For four nights this September, the cave will be brought to life through projections in the Place de l’Opéra. The screenings begin at 9:15 PM each evening and are open to all free of charge.

Act II – Dans la caverne

In November, Act II will take a significant leap back in time. The cave’s entrance will expand across the entire facade of the Opera. In place of any architectural features, the walls will bear human traces, evoking prehistoric cave paintings.

All are encouraged to help create this monumental piece by participating in free embroidery workshops at the Galerie du 19M beginning September 15th. From mid-September until October, everyone is invited to leave their mark and learn embroidery during the “Mano Habilis” workshop series led by skilled craftspeople. Register to participate here.

As a place of passage and celebration, JR invites the public to return to the origins of the art of singing and dancing at the Palais Garnier this fall.


JR: Retour à la caverne” at Palais Garnier

Comments are off this post!