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JR flyposts the New York City Ballet building

(JR/New York City Ballet)

(JR/New York City Ballet)

French street artist JR has turned the floor of a ballet into a sculpture – using 81 dancers and some crumpled paper.

French photographer and artist JR – who describes himself as a “photograffeur” – flyposts giant works in public locations, calling the street “the largest art gallery in the world”. Known for pasting large-format photographs onto buildings, between 2004 and 2006 he exhibited portraits of young people from the housing projects around Paris in huge scale as part of Portraits of a Generation. The illegal project was given official approval when the city of Paris put his photos up on buildings.

Now, the 30-year-old has moved off the street for a project with the New York City Ballet, which last year commissioned New York urban art duo Faile to create a 12m (40ft) tower inside its promenade. This year, the space has been turned into sculpture with a giant photograph covering its floor; JR shot 81 dancers in two-and-a-half days, each of them making their own positions while lying down to sculpt a giant eye out of paper.

In an interview with Blouin (which reveals the creation of the work), JR said: “It was interesting, because a lot of those positions were not ballet positions; for them, it was like working in another field, which is sculpture... When you look at people walking around it, and stopping, and looking at the person and their shadow, it actually sometimes creates a much stronger image than you’ve originally made.”

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