La Nascita, April 11, 2024, 20h30, Gare de Milan Centrale, Italy (c) JR


Invited by the Milano Centrale Railway Station, JR transforms the station’s facade and Piazza Duca d’Aosta into a rocky landscape with his first sculptural anamorphosis La Nascita. The monumental trompe-l'œil blurs the boundaries of time and place, fashioning a surreal architectural fantasy that draws a link between the grandeur of the station today and its history. As part of Milan’s 2024 Design Week, it will be on view from April 10th to May 1st.  


In 1906, following the opening of the Simplon Tunnel—an engineering feat marking the burgeoning era of train travel in Milan—the construction of a new central train station was initiated. Tons of rock were excavated from the Alps to create the ambitious Simplon passage. With La Nascita, JR superimposes the chiseled facade of the hollowed mountain onto Milano Centrale. The work evokes the historical strata of the train station as it weaves mineral formations into the building’s amalgamation of classical Roman, eclectic, rationalist, art nouveau, and art deco architecture. 


As with JR’s installations La Ferita on Florence’s Palazzo Strozzi and Punto di Fuga on the Farnese Palace in Rome, a deep gash opens Milano Centrale. Where the opening leads is unknown, yet it beckons viewers to consider both the celebrated and sorrowful histories memorialized on the station’s facade, inside its halls, and under its platforms. Wandering amid the rock formations, travelers are invited to contemplate the indomitable human urge to explore, exchange, and migrate. 


For La Nascita, JR departs from his typical medium––paper and glue––and prints directly onto aluminum slats that are fastened together to form panels. In addition to being hung on scaffolding in front of the station’s facade, some are affixed to smaller structures on the ground. All materials used to bring this vast project to life will either be repurposed in future projects or melted down and recycled.  

La Nascita, Milano Centrale, Italy, 2024 (c) JR

La Nascita, Milano Centrale, Italy, 2024 (c) JR