In accordance with Olympic Agenda 2020 the International Olympic Committee has launched for the very first time Artist-in-Residence Programme. It complemented the cultural programme run by the Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (OCOG) and other cultural bodies.
Through the universal language of art, this programme offered artists the chance to provide their own interpretation of the Games and thus open up Olympism and its values to the widest possible audience.
The artists-in-residence scheme went ahead for the first time in Rio de Janeiro from 5 to 21 August 2016, during the Games of the 31st Olympiad.
In Rio, French contemporary artist JR, German writer Tilman Spengler and up-and-coming online artist Gerald Andal (USA) experimented with new ways to express the art of the Olympics.
JR owns the biggest art gallery in the world. He exhibits freely in the streets of the world, catching the attention of people who are not typical museum visitors. His work mixes Art and Act, talks about commitment, freedom, identity and limit.
JR creates Art that spreads uninvited on the buildings of the slums around Paris, on the walls in the Middle-East, on the broken bridges in Africa or the favelas in Brazil. Some elderly women become models for a day; some kids turn artists for a week. In that Art scene, there is no stage to separate the actors from the spectators.
As he remains anonymous and doesn't explain his huge full frame portraits of people making faces, JR leaves the space empty for an encounter between the subject/protagonist and the passer-by/interpreter. This is what JR’s work is about. Raising questions...
By giving JR the opportunity to capture “humanity in motion” through a large-scale artistic project, the IOC is nurturing the links between culture and sport and reconnecting with the ideals of Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Games.
In Rio JR has worked on two projects: the “Giants” and “Inside Out Project Rio 2016”.
“The Giants” are the images of athletes whose identity is blurred behind the beauty of a “perfect motion” from an instantly recognisable Olympic event: diving, the high jump and the swimming. These gigantics pictures were installed in black and white on ultra-large scaffolds which will themselves form an integral part of the installation, being the only things capable of supporting such large pictures. Three “Giants” intervened in the urban environment : Flamengo, in Botafoo and in barra Da Tijuca.
For “Inside Out Project Rio 2016” participants step into a photo booth on a specially built truck designed to look like an immense mobile camera. They are invited to adopt an original pose. Their picture is taken. They provide their first name, surname and email address. A few seconds later, a large-format black-and-white poster (90 x 135 cm) is instantly printed and emerges outside the truck. The subjects are then invited to paste up their poster in the surrounding urban space (in Rio, the truck was on the Praça Maua), thereby becoming a part of a collaborative work. The project named #IOPRio2016 was aiming to give a face to the people who are and who make the Olympics. To Pierre de Coubertin, “Olympism overturns barriers. It claims the air and the light on behalf of all”. These portraits of people contribute to the success of the Games and thereby deserve to be highlighted.
A gallery of all portraits was posted on the dedicated website http://www.insideoutproject.net/rio2016/en/
Tilman Spengler is a German writer, sinologist and literary editor. The author of more than a dozen books, his work has been translated into 21 languages, and he has received several literary prizes throughout his career.
In Rio he tried to have a different perspective on the games. As he mentioned “there will be thousands of professional sports journalists, writing or reporting competently about the main topics. So he’ll try to find a perspective which is not covered by colleagues with greater experience, sharper eyes and better training than mine”.
Texts written by Tilman Spengler in Rio:
Gerald Andal is from USA. He is a video editor for a commercial real estate company, and on the side, he likes to make Vines.
When he started making Vines, he never thought it was something he would use to make something creative, so then he started experimenting with different techniques, improved his craft, and he has been fortunate enough to have received work on branded Vines.
In Rio he planned on making Vines that show a side of the Olympics that most people may not get a chance to see. He wanted to capture the vibrancy of Rio de Janeiro, the energy and rhythm of any of the events, or the moments in between an event when athletes are preparing themselves.
To discover Gerald Andal's Vines: