Clichy-Montfermeil Chronicles, JR explainig his project, France, 2017
Chroniques de Clichy-Montfermeil, France, 2017
With the help of director Ladj Ly, JR has been developing projects in Clichy-Montfermeil, east of Paris, for fifteen years.
In 2004, he inaugurated Portrait of a Generation, a series of large black and white portraits of young residents that he illegally pasted on the walls of the neighborhood.
On October 27, 2005, the death of two teenagers, Zyed Benna and Bouna Traoré in an electric transformer in Clichy-sous-Bois after a chase with the police, marked the start of riots in the city and throughout France.
JR then returned to Clichy-Montfermeil with a 28 millimeter lens, which allowed him to get as close as possible to his models and to distort their faces "as the media distort our vision of the French banlieues," he explains. A selection of these images was pasted on the exterior walls of the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in 2006.
In 2017, JR and Ladj Ly continued their collaboration in Clichy-Montfermeil and photographed 750 inhabitants, workers or passers-by, making them replay moments of their daily lives. JR assembled them in a monumental fresco: Chroniques de Clichy-Montfermeil.
The work presents a singular portrayal of people "who have seen the utopia of this neighborhood fall apart, and the misery and social tensions exacerbate... A portrayal of those who strive to put poetry back into the concrete of these buildings," says JR.