JR at the Palais Garnier Paris

Friday, September 8, 2023
JR at the Palais Garnier Paris

As part of the restoration of the Palais Garnier, the Opera national de Paris has invited the artist JR to decorate the scaffolding covering the monument with two successive installations.

This project is a continuation of the artist's work, which has included enormous pieces that have taken over the surroundings of the Louvre Museum, the Trocadero esplanade, the Farnese Palace in Rome or the Strozzi Palace in Florence, each time as an invitation for viewers to change their perspective.

Like an opera libretto, the artist proposes a metamorphosis of the façade in two acts, the first in September and the second in November.

As of 6 September, the public is invited to discover JR's interpretation of the monumental façade of the Temple of Music and Dance, revealing the entrance to an immense cavern opening onto a perspective of rock and light.

Playing on the romantic codes of the 19th century, in the style of painter Hubert Robert, but also with references to the great stage sets of operas by Berlioz or Wagner, the Napoleon III architectural elements seem to be caught in a double temporal movement. At once the ruin of a past that would see Parisian monuments subjected to their own fragility and questioning their eternal character, we catch a glimpse of a work in permanent reconstruction, as attested by the numerous scaffolding structures, a nod to the real and necessary work that physically supports this new installation.

Walking up Avenue de l'Opéra, visitors are invited to project themselves into this geological universe, a visual evocation of the origins of ballet and opera, when song and dance celebrated the divinities of archaic Greece in caves set aside for the occasion. It wasn't until the 6th century B.C. that these celebrations were brought closer to the cities, where real tribunes and bleachers were dug to bring together all the citizens. The theater was born, Epidaurus was built.

At the same time as hijacking the motif of scaffolding and introducing a Romantic-inspired return to nature, the artist draws inspiration from Plato's philosophical allegory of the cave, a place whose exit provides access to knowledge and understanding of the world.

In September 2023, this cave of origins will be brought to life by projections over four evenings, presenting extracts from lyrical and choreographic works associated with the Paris Opera. The Opera is open to all, and its façade becomes its stage, with performances that are visible from the street.

Image :© JR

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Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.

Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.


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