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In an innovative confluence of public space and artistic expression, world-renowned street artist JR unveiled his latest installation, The Birth, in Milan. Situated in the bustling Piazza Duca d’Aosta near Central Station, this work marks a significant addition to Milan Art Week. From April 10 to May 1, residents and visitors of Milan are allowed to engage with JR’s first foray into sculptural anamorphosis, an art form that melds illusion with architecture to transformative effect.

On the morning of April 9, 2024, during a media preview, JR articulated his vision for La Nascita (The Birth), emphasizing the transformative potential of sculptural anamorphosis to alter perceptions of architectural solidity and historical permanence. As JR’s inaugural sculptural anamorphosis, The Birth enriches Milan’s urban environment. Moreover, it reinforces the artist’s commitment to challenging the boundaries between art and public space, history and contemporary life. Through this installation, JR continues to explore the intersections of art, architecture and human experience, solidifying his position as a pivotal figure in contemporary street art.

Photo Credit: Gabriel Bouys / AFP
Photo Credit: Gabriel Bouys / AFP

JR’s new artwork, The Birth, emerges as a continuation of this dialogue with the cityscape. Utilizing iron scaffolding and cardboard boards, JR constructs a visual rupture within the context of Milan’s Central Station, a structure noted for its Fascist architectural lineage. This intentional placement invites viewers to consider the installation from a distance, ideally from the opposite side of the street, where the artwork reveals its full impact: a seemingly cavernous crack within the station’s facade, acting as a temporal gateway. This technique mirrors the artist’s previous work, Retour à la Caverne, which was displayed in Paris in front of the Opéra Garnier, further establishing JR’s fascination with creating portals to alternate dimensions or epochs through his art.

JR’s artistic journey has long been characterized by a deep engagement with public spaces and the narratives they harbor. Renowned for his global interventions that span rooftops in Rio de Janeiro to favelas in Kenya, JR’s art transcends traditional boundaries, challenges perceptions and invites communal interaction. His previous project, Inside Out, captured the collective imagination by adorning the facade of the Arengario in Piazza Duomo with hundreds of photographs of workers from the BASE construction site, a testament to his ability to weave personal narratives into the fabric of urban landscapes.

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