Born in Paris in 1983, JR is an urban artist living between Paris and New York, and working in cities around the world. Best known for his giant works reproduced on the facades of buildings, the artist develops numerous projects mixing photography, street art, cinema and social activism.


He became interested in graffiti at an early age and painted his first murals during his teenage years. It was through street art that he found a means of expression adapted to his desires. His career as a photographer really kicked off in 2001 when, by the greatest coincidence, he found a camera in the Parisian subway. He then decided to go on a trip across Europe, which led him to meet many people. In order to keep a record of these exceptional encounters, he made portraits. Following a first exhibition, he launched a new project from 2004 to 2006, entitled “Portrait of a Generation”, for which he chose young people from the suburbs.

“The street inspires me. I come from street art. JR is my tag name. I love people and feed off their emotions.”


Afterwards, he started making his first collages in very large formats. His exhibition quickly attracted attention, and the Paris City Hall decided to display some of his photos on its own buildings. His approach was innovative because he decided to take art out of museums. Remaining true to the aspirations of street art, he brings art into the street to reach as many people as possible, especially disadvantaged populations who don’t have the opportunity to enter a museum. His art gained international recognition in 2007 when he decided to create a large illegal exhibition featuring huge portraits of Israelis and Palestinians on both sides of the border. In 2008, he repeated the experience with portraits of the people living in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. This same process then took him to Sierra Leone, Liberia, Kenya, India and Cambodia.

In 2014, he glued the image of a woman’s eyes to a container ship in the French city of Le Havre. His work with this piercing woman’s eyes traveled around the world and made it all the way to Malaysia. That same year, he carried out a new project called “The Wrinkles of the City”, in which he chose wrinkled residents to display their pictures in their own city. To do this, he traveled to Cartagena, Shanghai, Havana, Los Angeles, Berlin and Istanbul. The last couple of years, he continued to work on his giant collages in unusual places such as the Pantheon or on the pyramid of the Louvre in Paris. The artist also focuses on film and creates documentaries in order to keep a record of his artistic approach and achievements.

The artist's exhibitions


From 13 February to 15 June 2019, the Elart Swiss gallery, in collaboration with Simon Studer Art, is organising an exhibition of a selection of works by the famous French photographer JR in Lausanne.
It is in an exceptional setting, within the Beau-Rivage Palace, that the curious, tourists and art lovers have the opportunity to discover works mainly from the “New York City Ballet Art Series” project, but also from “Unframed, Ellis Island”, “The Wrinkles of the City, Los Angeles” or “Women are heroes, Kenya”.

See the exhibition