Who is the artist Jaume Plensa?
Jaume Plensa is a Spanish artist known for his sculptures of giant human heads made from different materials such as glass, stainless steel and resin. He also worked with painting, drawing and art installations. His works are exhibited at international exhibitions and are present in public and private collections around the world.
What are the characteristics of Jaume Plensa's works?
Jaume Plensa is known for his sculptures of giant human heads made from different materials such as glass, stainless steel and resin. These sculptures usually represent the heads of children or young people, and are often characterized by contemplative or dreamy expressions. He has a strong connection with space and time, and his sculptures are often placed in public places where viewers can interact with them and reflect on their meanings. Another important feature is the scale and dimension of his works, which are usually huge, drawing attention and creating a sense of immersion. Furthermore, his Plensa sculptures are known for being symbolic, contemplative, tending to represent humanity and nature.
What are Jaume Plensa's most famous works?
"Dreamer" (Dreamer) is a sculpture by Jaume Plensa, it is a giant human head made of stainless steel. It represents a girl with closed eyes, who seems to be dreaming or meditating. The sculpture was designed to blend into the park's surrounding landscape, and is often seen as an icon of the city, known for its beauty and its ability to inspire reflection and meditation. It was created with the intention of representing hope and peace, and is considered a metaphor for the human quest for wisdom and understanding. The "Dreamer" sculpture was very well received by critics and the public. It has won several awards and has become a popular tourist attraction, frequently photographed and filmed.
His sculpture Echo is named after the mountain nymph in Greek mythology who offended the goddess Hera. To punish Echo, Hera deprived the nymph of speech, except for the ability to repeat the last words spoken by another. Plensa created this monumental Echo head with eyes closed, apparently listening or in a state of meditation. The work is situated on the edge of the park, where Echo looks across Puget Sound towards Mount Olympus.
"Crown Fountain" is a public art installation created by Jaume Plensa in 2004, located in Millennium Park, Chicago, Illinois, USA. The installation consists of two 15-meter-high glass towers that display projections of faces that shoot water downwards. The towers project video images of a wide social spectrum of Chicagoans, a reference to the traditional use of gargoyles on fountains, where faces of mythological beings were carved with mouths open to allow water to flow, a symbol of life. "Crown Fountain" was designed to blend into the landscape and was created with the intention of representing the diversity of the city of Chicago and its community. The fountain is very popular with visitors, especially during the warm months when people like to cool off in the fountain's waters.
The sculpture originally appeared in Antibes in the summer of 2007. During the closure of the Musée Picasso from March 2006 to July 2008, the vice president of Antibes requested an external design from curator Jean-Louis Andral. “Nomade” was celebrated by thousands of visitors seduced by the presence of this monumental statue, sitting on the city walls, with its imaginary gaze fixed on the immensity of the Mediterranean Sea. This sculpture later left for Miami and was acquired by Des Moines art collectors Mary and John Pappajohn. The city of Antibes Juan-les-Pins commissioned a similar sculpture, and Jaume Plensa returned to Port Vauban, this time to permanently anchor his learned giant. It was inaugurated in May 2010 in the presence of Frédéric Mitterand, Minister of Culture and Communication. Jaume Plensa uses letters as basic components of much of his art, which explores issues of communication between individuals or cultures. This work portrays an anonymous figure, squatting, with a “skin” composed of letters of the Latin alphabet. The sculpture exemplifies Plensa's continuing interest in the ideas presented in written texts, as well as the human body and how it perceives the world around it. Jaume Plensa described the individual letters or symbols as components that have little or no meaning on their own but blossom into words, thoughts and language when combined with others. Plensa's letter canvases offer a metaphor for human culture, in which a person alone has limited potential, but when formed into groups or societies, it becomes stronger. “Nomade” engages the viewer on many levels, from our recognition of the letters that make up the shape, to our own physical interaction with the work as we view it from afar or within the work's interior space.
Jaume Plensa's influence on art
Jaume Plensa is considered an important artist in contemporary art, and his works have been influential for many other artists. His unique approach to sculpture, combining modern materials with traditional human forms, scale and dimension, and reflection on universal themes such as humanity and nature, has been a source of inspiration for many artists working in sculpture or similar subjects. .
Jaume Plensa currently lives and works in Barcelona, however since 1980, the year of his first exhibition in Barcelona, he has lived in Berlin, Brussels, England, France and the United States. He was a professor at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris and regularly collaborates with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as a visiting professor. He has also given many lectures and courses at other universities, museums and cultural institutions around the world.
Jaume Plensa has received numerous national and international awards, including the Medaille de Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, awarded by the French Ministry of Culture, in 1993, and the National Prize for Fine Arts from the Government of Catalonia, in 1997. In 2005, he was awarded invested Doctor Honoris Causa by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In Spain, he received the National Prize for Fine Arts in 2012 and the prestigious Velázquez Arts Prize in 2013 and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in 2018.
Plensa regularly exhibits her work in galleries and museums in Europe, the United States and Asia. The outstanding exhibitions in his career include the one organized at Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona in 1996, which traveled to the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume in Paris and to the Malmö Konsthall in Malmö (Sweden) the following year. In Germany, several museums have held exhibitions of his work. These include Love Sounds at the Kestner Gesellschaft in Hannover in 1999, The Secret Heart which was shown in three museums in the city of Augsburg in 2014 and Die Innere Sight at the Max Ernst Museum in Brühl in 2016. During 2015 and 2016 the The Human exhibition Landscape has traveled to several North American museums: Cheekwood Estate and Gardens and The Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, TN, the Tampa Museum of Art in Tampa, FL and the Toledo Museum of Art in Toledo, OH. Her last museum exhibitions were Invisibles at Palacio de Cristal – Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, and at MACBA in Barcelona, which traveled to the Moscow Museum of Modern Art in Moscow, Russia. In 2022, the Musée d'art moderne de Céret in Céret, France, inaugurated its new spaces with the exhibition Chaque visage est un lieu. In summary, Jaume Plensa is an important and influential artist in contemporary art, due to his unique symbolic and contemplative approach, in a peculiar scale and dimension.