The Palais Garnier, home of the Paris Opéra, has been obscured for a few months by the restoration of its façade, which will last until the end of 2024. 


To somewhat limit the damage to the image of the monument, JR was invited to intervene on the tarpaulin covering the works. The installation was conceived as an opera libretto in two acts: 


In the first act, JR pays homage to the romantic aesthetics of the 19th century, allegorically representing Plato's cave: a tribute to the magnificent fiction of opera and theater performances. 


In the second act, with the renewal of the decoration of the cloth, JR's cave will be replaced by a curtain designed by Atelier Montex, a contemporary embroidery studio in the heart of Paris, which boasts collaborations with the most important high fashion brands. Designed as a participatory work. 


The Paris Opera House was in fact the protagonist of an extraordinary transformation of its facade during the CHIROPTERA show. 


This captivating show, choreographed by Damien Jalet with music by Thomas Bangalter, delved into the allegorical themes of Acts I and II of Retour à la caverne. A crowd of 25,000 spectators gathered on the Place de l'Opéra to watch the prima ballerina, Amandine Albisson, open the entrance to the cave with her imposing anthropomorphic shadow. The performance took place in complete darkness, with spectators illuminating the stage using their phones and flashlights, and the stage deliberately incorporating minimal lighting. 


Albisson's human shadow figure set the tone, while later, dancers adorned in phosphorescent costumes elevated the viewing experience by creating captivating shapes and phrases. 


“In the last few weeks we have seen so much darkness that all of us, artists and dancers, have stopped and asked ourselves: what is the point of dancing? What is the point of creating? What's the point of putting on a show with all this darkness around us? But we said no; our role as artists is always to seek the light. We know: you don't chase away darkness with more darkness. You chase it away with light, no matter how small" JR.

S | D | M 

© 2020-2023 Set Design Magazine - All Rights Reserved