His works are distributed all over the world, not in vain is he one of the most internationally appreciated sculptors of public space, but the most. His last two interventions cover US landscapes: ‘Utopia’, a 26-meter-long marble mural located in Michigan; and ‘The Soul of Water’, a monumental 22 meter tall figure rising up on the banks of the Hudson, facing Manhattan.
Jaume Plensa (Barcelona, 1955) is a born seducer, in word and deed. When he speaks he whispers and says things like “I try that my work has a humanistic content very deep & rdquor ;. And, when you believe, the beauty comes out of your hands. His pieces look, calm and challenge the passerby from the most remote places on the planet. Not in vain is it one of the world’s most precious public sculpture creators, but the most. China, Japan, Germany, France, Sweden, England and countless countries dispute his works. He was more in demand than a prophet in his land, the artist has just inaugurated two of his most spectacular interventions in the United States. In late November, the facility opened to the public in Michigan ‘Utopia’, 300 tons of white marble carved that form four walls 26 meters long by 6.5 high and show, in bas-relief, the faces of four women. A woman is also the 22 meters of face of ‘The soul of water’ that, index finger in mouth, asks Manhattan for silence from the other bank of the Hudson River, in Jersey City.
The first is “a space for meditation & rdquor ;, at the same time that it represents“ the dream of being able to be together in a civilized way & rdquor ;. The second is intended to “ask for silence to hear our voices. It is a poetic silence, it is not an authoritarian silence & rdquor ;. This is how Plensa explains his work, an artist who, unlike many of his colleagues, He has no qualms about talking about his creations and the reflection they seek to generate. Whether he defines his figures as poets – “his words are like the light that penetrates the Earth and makes flowers grow & rdquor; – or details his sculptures made with letters of different alphabets -“ a celebration of diversity. An ‘a’ or a ‘b’ alone doesn’t seem like anything, but together they can form words, and words texts, and texts create culture. It is a beautiful metaphor of the human being: alone he is nothing but as a group he can form a community & rdquor ;.
Plensa not only explains his work but also invites you to enjoy it, touch it and live it – “It is a shelter for people who walk down the street & rdquor; -. The maximum exponent of this premise is the piece that was a turning point in his career: ‘Crown Fountain’, two 16-meter towers joined by a pond, which reflect the faces of walkers and in which children, and not so young, soak and jump between the spouts of water. It has been in Chicago since 2004, and its creator comes to see it every time he sets foot in the North American city: “What gift can you ask for better than a smile? & Rdquor ;. I said, Plensa is the magician of public sculpture. And it is, as has also been said, a great seducer. He has his detractors in criticism, like any artist worth his salt, but it enjoys the unanimous and unconditional appreciation of the public.
As shown, several buttons. In 2018, the Macba dedicated the retrospective exhibition that it owed him for a long time, the result was queues in a museum that does not exactly stand out for the crowds of public it causes. Y Popular pressure is what has allowed Barcelona to have, momentarily, an iconic work by the artist: ‘Carmela’. The 4.5-meter-high face that lives in front of the Palau de la Música was intended to be ephemeral but the insistence of the citizens led Plensa to give it up for eight extendable years, expiring in 2024. It has made more donations to spaces in the city , like ‘Blau’ that has been worn since 2020 in the lobby of the Hospital Clínic as a tribute to health workers and their fight against the pandemic; and ‘Ànima’, donated to the Sant Joan de Déu Hospital, in 2018.
And in this aspect, in the absence of a great permanent work in his hometown, it is where the miserliness of the rulers of Barcelona is reflected. There was a project, in the time of Xavier Trias: a woman’s face that the artist imagined 52 meters high and located in the sea, but it did not prosper with the change of municipal government. Although Plensa does not despair, or despair in 2015 when he stated: “I have waited 59 years, so I can wait a few more & rdquor ;. But while the Barcelona opportunity arrives, the sculptor will continue his journey around the world, for the moment a project in Hawaii (USA) and an exhibition with his latest works await him to inaugurate the expansion of the Museum of Modern Art in Céret (France). And he will continue creating art: “Any moment is extremely beautiful and must be cared for and pampered.” Well, that’s it.
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