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  • “Au Panthéon!” installation by JR

  • “Au Panthéon!” installation by JR

  • “Au Panthéon!” installation by JR

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JR installation at the Pantheon of Paris featuring 4,000 black and white portraits

French street artist JR was commissioned by the Centre des Monuments Nationaux to create a participatory installation at the Pantheon of Paris that would encapsulate the diversity of the contemporary world, as well as the humanistic and universal values embodied by the Pantheon. JR got inspired by his international art project INSIDE OUT, which gives everyone the opportunity to share their portrait and make a statement for what they stand for, and covered the historic neoclassical building with mosaics made out of more than 4,000 black and white photos of anonymous people. The installation, titled “Au Panthéon!”, features a wide selection of photos that were uploaded to the website of the Pantheon by individuals from all over the world willing to participate in JR’s project. It also includes portraits taken in some special photo booth trucks that were stationed for the occasion outside of nine national monuments over France, among them the Palais du Tau in Reims, the Rochelle towers and the Angers Castle, from February 25 to March 28, 2014.

The monumental installation aims to raise awareness on the restoration work being carried out on the Pantheon, one of the largest projects in Europe that is expected to take up to ten years to finish. JR’s installation covers the dome, the cupola and the floor of the Pantheon, cleverly bringing together the portraits of some of France’s greatest icons and the photos of everyday citizens. “Those resting here risked their lives. The great men of tomorrow are perhaps among these portraits,” JR told French newspaper 20 Minutes. The outside artwork will be exposed throughout the construction phase on the Pantheon’s upper parts, whereas the inside installation will remain on view until October 5, 2014.