Event 2024

JR - La Nascita

Special Mention Fuorisalone Award

Invited by Milan's Stazione Centrale, the famous French artist JR transforms the station façade and Piazza Duca d'Aosta into a rocky landscape with his new installation La Nascita. The monumental trompe-l'oeil blurs the boundaries of time and place, creating a surreal architectural fantasy that creates a link between the grandeur of the station today and its history.

In 1906, after the opening of the Simplon tunnel - an engineering feat that ushered in the era of large-scale train travel from Milan - King Victor Emmanuel III laid a symbolic foundation stone for the new central station. To realise the ambitious Simplon Pass, one of the longest railway tunnels in history. JR superimposes the rugged, chiselled elevation of the excavated mountain on the Stazione Milano Centrale.

La Nascita reveals the historical layers of Milan's main railway station.
The building, a testament to transitional architecture, has undergone numerous design revisions over the two decades of its construction to adapt to the various influences that have succeeded one another over time. JR projects the station into another transition, seamlessly weaving mineral elements into the amalgam of classical Roman, eclectic, rationalist, art nouveau and art deco architecture.Like his installations La Ferita at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence and Punto di Fuga at Palazzo Farnese in Rome, the Station is opened by a deep gash.It is not known where this leads, but it invites viewers to consider the famous and painful stories on the station's façade, inside its rooms and under its tracks. Wandering among the mineral elements scattered across the square, visitors are invited to contemplate the journey of life and the indomitable human impulse to explore, exchange and migrate.



The Techniques

Birth is JR's first sculptural anamorphosis, with individual elements of the installation spread across the square. To bring his vision to life, JR departs from his typical medium - paper and glue - and prints the image directly onto aluminium staves fixed together to form panels depicting rock formations of different shapes and sizes. The 32 cm wide staves are first painted white; the image is then printed in black by sublimation and a layer of varnish is added. Although it is a new material for JR, the slat system reflects his practice of ink-on-wood artwork.In The Birth, the panels are both hung from scaffolding and affixed to smaller structures, which are added to an aluminium surface laid on the ground in Piazza Duca d'Aosta to create a large spatial anamorphosis.

Like most of JR's public works, La Nascita is ephemeral, as it will only be visible for three weeks. However, thanks to this new technique of printing on aluminium, the work can withstand the weather and the panels can become a permanent work of art. From the large scaffolding structure to the fasteners that secure the panels, the materials used to create this work of art will be reused in future projects. Any components not kept will be melted down and recycled.

​​​​​​​Photo credits: La Nascita, Milano Centrale, Italia, 2024 (c) JR

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