After completely transforming the facade of the Opéra in Paris into a reinterpretation of Plato’s cave, on the evening of November 12th, JR activated it with a performance titled “Chiroptera”. The performance involved 153 dancers, including Amandine Albisson, the principal dancer of the Opéra, moving to a choreography by Damien Jalet set to the music of Thomas Bangalter.
JR’s entire artistic concept to activate the exterior of the famous Parisian theater is based on the relationship between light and darkness, the opposing extremes of an inexhaustible tension. If, in September, when the installation on the facade was revealed, the invitation was to leave the cave and move towards the light, this time the suggestion was diametrically opposed—to re-enter the symbolic channel within the cave, accompanied only by a small light.
“In these last weeks, we have seen so much darkness around us that all of us, the artists, and dancers, stopped and asked ourselves: What good is dancing? What good is creating? What good is putting on a show in front of the Opéra, with all this darkness around us? But our role as artists is always to search for the light. And we know this much: you don’t chase away the darkness with more darkness; you chase away the darkness with light, however tiny,” said JR, as also reported by the French Minister of Culture, Rima Abdulmalak.
Regarding the title: “Chiroptera” refers to bats, the only order of mammals that has the ability to fly.