16th March 2023 – (Hong Kong) Harbour City, Hong Kong’s largest shopping mall, has commissioned the French artist JR to create his first “GIANTS” artwork in Asia. Entitled “GIANTS: Rising Up,” the towering installation will be on display from 13th March to 23rd April 2023 at Ocean Terminal Deck. The artwork features a larger-than-life high jumper floating in mid-air next to Hong Kong’s iconic Victoria Harbour. The athlete’s body is depicted gracefully bending mid-air with her head facing the city’s impressive skyline.
Renowned artist JR, who has over 1.7 million Instagram followers, returns to Hong Kong after a decade since his last visit. The 12-meter-high and 12-meter-wide installation interacts with its surroundings and depicts the high-jumper appearing to jump off the ground, conveying the sensation of free fall. The installation is a reference to the GIANTS installation at the 2016 Rio Olympics, which depicted three anonymous athletes with their perfect gestures across the city and received high public praise.
The immense installation is made by canvassing the iconic black-and-white portraits onto the intricate arrangement of scaffolding. JR has fused traditional architectural craftsmanship into the artwork by using bamboo scaffolding instead of metal scaffolding.
JR is renowned for his oversized black and white optical illusion art and photographic installations in public spaces, which aim to engage the local community. His works have been displayed in over 40 cities with more than 80 exhibitions, including prestigious venues such as the Musée du Louvre in Paris, Palazzo Farnese in Rome, and the Pyramid of Khafre in Giza.
After the unveiling of an art installation titled “GIANTS: Rising Up” by French artist JR at Harbour City, some citizens expressed their discontent. Some have described the artwork as “heart-chilling” and believed that it has “seriously damaged Hong Kong’s feng shui.”
Meanwhile, a number of netizens who saw the artwork expressed their concerns and called for its removal, stating that the high-jumping athlete depicted in the artwork appears to be “jumping off a building or jumping into the sea” due to the background being the coast. Some netizens have also criticised the artwork for its potential negative impact on people’s mental health.