Street artist JR has been plastering city streets with the portraits of strangers for years, including his TEDPrize project from 2011. Now, he's been hired by the French government to put a pretty face on the Panthéon's unsightly construction. JR helped making the space a little more inviting by pasting thousands of different faces on the ceilings, floors and exterior of the building.
What started as an illegal activity back in 2006 with a public "exhibition" of suburban street thug portraits in the "bourgeois districts of Paris," took a turn when the Paris City Hall decided to wrap its walls with his faces. Funny enough, his resume consists of a mix of controversial (and occasionally still illegal) exhibitions and government-funded projects. Collectively, all of JR's work that spurred from the TEDPrize is titled INSIDE OUT. This specific display goes by the name of Au Panthéon!.
The artist and his work
The portraits displayed at the Panthéon were taken on trucks equipped with photobooths located at some of the area's most popular monuments and put up using wheat paste. Participants were also encouraged to upload their photos online. All in all, there are 4,106 different depictions on-site.
The Panthéon's construction has a way to go—ten years, as currently planned—but the interior of JR's display will only be around until October 5. Visitors will be able to view the exterior part of the exhibit throughout the entirety of the restoration. Find more details here.