The artist JR covered the facade of the Palais Garnier in evocation of Plato’s cave, a place of knowledge and transmission.
A metamorphosis of the facade in two acts
As part of the restoration work on the Palais Garnier, the Paris National Opera invited JR to dress the scaffolding covering the monument with two successive installations. This project is part of the continuity of the work of the artist who has notably installed monumental works by taking possession of the surroundings of the Louvre museum, the Trocadéro esplanade, the facades of the Palazzo Farnese in Rome and even the Strozzi Palace in Florence, inviting the viewer to change perspective. Like an opera libretto, the artist proposes a metamorphosis of the facade in two acts, the first in September and the second in November.
An immense cavern
From September 6, the public is invited to discover an interpretation by JR of the monumental facade 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 the painter Hubert Robert, but also on references to the great stage sets of the operas of Berlioz or Wagner, the elements of Napoleon III architecture seem caught in a double temporal movement. At the same time ruin of a past which would see the Parisian monuments subjected to their own fragility and questioning their eternal character, we glimpse a work in permanent reconstruction as attested by the numerous scaffoldings present, a nod to the real and necessary work which physically serve as support for this new installation.
A visual evocation of the origins of ballet and opera
Going up Avenue de l’Opéra, the visitor is 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 within caves set up for festivities. It was only in the 6th century BC that these celebrations moved closer to cities to create real stands and stands to bring together all the citizens. Thus the theater was born, Epidaurus was built. At the same time as he diverts the motif of scaffolding and introduces a romantically inspired return to nature, the artist draws inspiration from the philosophical allegory of Plato’s cave, a place whose exit allows access to the knowledge and understanding of the world. At the start of the 2023 school year, this cave of origins comes to life with screenings over four evenings presenting various extracts from lyrical and choreographic works linked to the Paris Opera. The Opera is open to all and its facade becomes its stage, the shows visible from the street.