incarcerated citizens work together with french artist JR to realize the tehachapi project
 

incarcerated citizens work together with french artist JR to realize the tehachapi project

within the walls of tehachapi california correctional institution, french artist JR creates a one-of-a-kind art activation. at the maximum security 4 facility in southern california, JR and his team capture the portraits and stories of former and currently incarcerated citizens that are keenly focused on rehabilitation, as well as some of the prison staff. together as a large team, the artist, staff, and incarcerated men pasted the compiled portraits as a large-scale mural across the institution’s recreation space.

JR tehachapi
aerial view of the complete pasting | image courtesy of JR

 

 

together with staff and incarcerated men of the california correctional institution, french artist JR makes use of 338 strips of paper with his tehachapi project. with the collaborative help of the entire team, the wheatpasting of each large strip was completed within a few hours. while the work appears almost as an obscured abstraction at the level of the ground, the final installation was photographed in its entirety upon its completion, shot from a birds-eye view with a drone.

JR tehachapi
night view of the pasting | image courtesy of JR

 

 

viewers have the opportunity to hear conversations with the former and currently incarcerated men, as well as the participating staff through the JR mural app. while some discuss their sense of personal identity versus how they present themselves within their context, others comment that the project offers a new chance to be proud of something they are doing. the tehachapi project explores the capacity for personal rehabilitation as well as the inclination to quickly give up on people. outside the bigger project the team pastes large-scale prints along the walls — these meant to convey a sense of hope — which depict the eyes some of those who had made it out.

JR tehachapi
pasting in the courtyard | image by marc azoulay

JR tehachapi
first meeting with prisoners and presentation of the project | images by camille pajot

JR tehachapi
behind the scene, capturing portraits | image by camille pajot

JR tehachapi
behind the scene, capturing portraits | image by camille pajot

JR tehachapi
the collaborative effort includes the artist, former and incarcerated men, and prison staff | image by marc azoulay

JR tehachapi
pasting in the courtyard | image by marc azoulay

JR tehachapi
pasting in the courtyard | image by james clarke

JR tehachapi
pasting in the courtyard | image by jesse clark

JR tehachapi
pasting in the courtyard | image by hailey magoon

JR tehachapi
the artist and incarcerated men take a break | image by jesse watson

 

 

project info:

 

project title: tehachapi project

artist: JR 

location: tehachapi correctional institution, california

photography: marc azoulay, camille pajot, jesse watson, hailey magoon, jesse clark, james clarke

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