JR animates his paris opera cavern facade with "chiroptera" shadow-light performance

Designboom_ Following the transformation of the Palais Garnier, which JR adorned with an expansive cavern facade, the artist returns to animate the space with the mesmerizing CHIROPTERA performance. The show features 153 dancers, including Amandine Albisson, the principal dancer of the Opera, following the choreography of Damien Jalet accompanied by the music of Thomas Bangalter. The spectacle revolves around the interplay of darkness and light, emphasizing the symbiotic relationship between the two elements. While the initial installation in September urged viewers to emerge from the cave and embrace the light, this time the narrative takes a turn, inviting spectators to re-enter the symbolic passageway within the cave, illuminated only by a subtle glow.

On November 12th, 2023, the Opera House in Paris witnessed the enchanting transformation of its cavern facade during the CHIROPTERA performance. This captivating show, choreographed by Damien Jalet with music by Thomas Bangalter, delved into the allegorical themes of Act I and II of Retour à la caverne. JR, addressing the audience at the commencement of the event, said,‘Back in September, we invited you to step out of the cave to go and explore. This time, we’re inviting you back inside the cave.’

A crowd of 25,000 spectators gathered at the Place de l’Opéra to witness the principal ballerina, Amandine Albisson, opening the entrance to the cave with her imposing, anthropomorphic shadow. The performance unfolded in complete darkness, with spectators illuminating the stage using their phones and torches, and the stage deliberately incorporating minimal light. Albisson’s human shadow figure set the tone, while later, dancers adorned in glow-in-the-dark costumes elevated the visual experience by creating captivating shapes and phrases. ‘In the last few weeks, we’ve seen so much darkness that all of us, artists and dancers, stopped and asked ourselves: What good is dancing? What good is creating? What good is putting on a show with all this darkness around us? But we said no; our role as artists is always to search for the light. We know this much: You don’t chase away the darkness with more darkness. You chase is away with light, however tiny,’ added JR.