STREET LIFE | JR’S UNFRAMED PROJECT IN BADEN BADEN, GERMANY
In conjunction with a retrospective solo exhibition at the Museum Frieder Burda, in Baden Baden, Germany, French street artist & Supertouch buddy JR has just completed the installation of his outdoor “Unframed” project on the city’s walls. An ongoing project since 2010 with installments in cities around the world, “Unframed” uses images by famous or anonymous photographers and archival images that JR reinterprets and recontextualizes depending on the place, neighborhood, or city he works in. These photographs, old or recent, cropped or enlarged, create monumental artworks on the facades of the neighborhood and transform these personal memories into the collective memories of a city.
As a large-scale project in the city’s urban space, “Unframed Baden-Baden” specifically addresses German-French history and the friendship between the two countries. By putting up posters featuring historical photographs from people’s private photo albums in Baden-Baden’s historic city, JR placed the theme in a new context. In the run-up to the exhibition, citizens of Baden-Baden were invited to participate and submit their own personal material. The city has always been a link between Germany and France where, after decades of enmity, the reluctant rapprochement between the two countries is palpable.
“Here is another story I collected from the people here: Right after the war the cohabitation wasn’t easy at all and French and German would live in the same city but in parallel to each other… the first ones to do the steps without fear were children. Here Nicole was leaving next the little Gabi`s german house who became her friend.. the 2 families connected because of their children.” —JR
“Another photo from the archive of the City: When the French soldiers entered in Baden Baden after World War II, people didn’t know if they would take revenge for their own previous defeat. They actually liberated the German people from the Nazis.” —JR
“Here in Baden Baden after World War II, kids played a role in the French-German friendship and a radio station was even created for them in 1949 (SWF radio from Baden Baden). This town was one of the most active places for restoring the dialogue between French and Germans.” —JR
“This image comes from Brigitte Vogt who sent it to me when she heard I was looking for stories about the people living here. She is the daughter of a French officer that was working at the French Army base in Baden Baden in the 60’s. One day, she met a German boy that was the son of a German officer and they finally got married which created at the time a huge source of tension. If their grandparents tried to break up their marriage, their parents encouraged them to stay together even with the post-conflict hate still present in the region. They are still together until this day and have 3 children. It looks far from us today but when you hear it from someone directly it feels so much closer.” —JR
“Archive image from the first radio station (SWF) created in Baden Baden by the French army to push the new development of the city and to start what they called ‘the re-education’ to democracy. Here, Heinz Staerk in 1946 was recording on a 78. He’s still alive today and came by to see the pasting.” —JR
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