Home / Art / Street ArtStreet Artist JR Turns the Louvre Pyramid into an Incredible Optical Illusion

Street Artist JR Turns the Louvre Pyramid into an Incredible Optical Illusion

 

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French street artist JR is helping the Louvre celebrate the 30th anniversary of its famed glass pyramid by surrounding it with a dramatic optical illusion. Along with 400 volunteers, JR placed 2,000 sheets of paper around the Louvre Pyramid to create the appearance that it’s rising from a rock quarry.

The installation is a celebration of the Louvre Pyramid’s 30th anniversary. An iconic piece of modern architecture, it has become an important part of the Louvre’s history since architect I.M. Pei completed the structure in 1989. Interestingly, this isn’t the first time that the pyramid has found its way into JR’s work. In 2016, he covered the Louvre pyramid with his large-scale photo prints, causing it to blend in with the facade of the museum.

After the artist sent out a photo of the installation the Friday it was complete, visitors swarmed the site. In no time, the fragile paper laid out in the 183,000-square-foot (17,000-square-meter) plaza started to disintegrate. While some visitors were disillusioned by how quickly it disappeared, coming from a field of ephemeral art, the situation didn’t phase JR. He took a much more philosophical view of the artwork’s destruction.

“The images, like life, are ephemeral. Once pasted, the art piece lives on its own,” he wrote on Twitter. “The sun dries the light glue and with every step, people tear pieces of the fragile paper. The process is all about [the] participation of volunteers, visitors, and souvenir catchers.”

The piece, which is “about presence and absence, about reality and memories, about impermanence,” also became an unexpected tribute. Acclaimed Belgian-French filmmaker and artist Agnès Varda passed away at age 90 on March 29, while  JR and his team were in the middle of the installation. Many audiences were refamiliarized with Varda’s work when she co-directed the 2017 film Faces, Places with JR. The movie also scored her an Oscar nomination, making her the oldest person to be nominated for a competitive Oscar.

JR and Varda remained close even after their collaboration, and she was surely on his mind during his takeover of the Louvre. In fact, upon completion, he wrote a special message just for her. “I finished this one for you Agnès Varda, you loved people, pasting and illusion …  I am sure you can see it. I did something that can be seen from the sky. Promised, I didn’t know that it was for you.”

Street artist JR created a spectacular illusion to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Louvre Pyramid.

 

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A group of 400 volunteers helped him paste 2,000 strips of paper to create the illusion of the Pyramid rising from a quarry.

 

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Day 2 @museelouvre ! Pasting in progress, come see ! 🎥 @garybialas

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The ephemeral piece of art, which was quickly destroyed by visitors who flocked to see it, took on new meaning after an unexpected event.

 

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During the installation, JR’s friend and collaboration, acclaimed filmmaker and artist Agnès Varda passed away.

 

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For my shooting star wherever you are… @agnes.varda ❤️

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JR:  Website | Instagram | Facebook

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