Melbourne, Florence, Paris, Colombia, Colorado… a glance at JR’s Instagram account reveals a world tour of creations in recent months despite the pandemic. And now: Egypt. The famous French street artist has announced that he will create a new work at the Pyramids of Giza, Cairo, in October. “This is not a photomontage…but October’s artwork could be a photo collage,” reads the Instagram caption below an image of the artist nonchalantly (and inconceivably) posing on the back of a prancing horse.
“I’ve never been so excited to work on a project, it’s an amazing site and I can’t wait to get back to Les Pyramides for the installation,” says JR. The arts journal. The artist is well known for his optical illusion works on famous sites. More recently, he created a trompe l’oeil in Paris that makes the Eiffel Tower appear to be teetering on the edge of a deep ravine. In 2016, he tackled another type of pyramid – the one designed by IM Pei outside the Louvre museum – which he made “disappear”.
The order at the Pyramids is part of the exhibition forever is now (October 21, 2021-November 7, 2021) organized by Art D’egypt, a company that aims to promote the contemporary Egyptian art scene with annual exhibitions in historical sites. In what is billed as the first event of its kind at the 4,500-year-old UNESCO World Heritage Site, it will showcase works by Egyptian and international artists along a trail around the Giza Plateau.
“We are very happy to collaborate with local, regional and international artists on this historic exhibition which is a sign of hope for humanity”, says Nadine Abdel Ghaffar, founder of Art D’egypt. “Being at the foot of the Great Pyramids of Giza sends a message of hope to the world that humanity will prevail as our ancient Egyptian civilization did. We are here in dialogue with that civilization 5,000 years later.”
Other confirmed contestants on the show include Italian-American artist Lorenzo Quinn; Ukrainian artist Alexander Ponomarev; Gisela Colon, Puerto Rican-born, Los Angeles-based artist; Egyptian artist Sherin Guirguis; and Saudi artist Sultan Bin Fahad. Speaking about his participation in the project, Colon tells The arts journal“Sometimes the stars only align once in a lifetime, and it’s one of those timeless moments, where past, present and future come together in Egypt. Working with a team incredible and dynamic feminine [at Art D’Egypte] was amazing.”
The artificial intelligence robot Ai-Da, currently on display at the Design Museum in London, will also create a work at the Pyramids as part of a side project. Other participating artists are expected to be announced in the coming months.