The exhibition presents Plensa’s installation and monumental sculpture in a new configuration, where the source material for the work appears alongside the finished sculptures. For the first time, Plensa incorporates reclaimed wood beams as a framework and major component of his work.
Continuing his exploration of contemporary portraiture, most notably with Chicago’s Crown Fountain and most recently with Looking Into My Dreams, Awilda at the Perez Art Museum Miami, Jaume Plensa created an ensemble of seven heads made of timber salvaged from an old building. The heads, modelled after individual young women from Asia, Europe, and Latin America, are treated with an unevenly burnt patina, which draws influence from both Eastern and Western iconography.
The exhibition fully speaks to Plensa’s sensitivity to medium and how his use of new materials evolved to inform his life-long search for a universal depiction of a reflective inner world. In placing the sculptures in proximity to architectural remains, Plensa forges a connection between spirit and matter, the historic and the contemporary, underlining his ongoing pursuit to understand the beauty in everyday life.
Plensa also addresses how silence, as a visual and auditory negative space, is an ever-shrinking commodity of today’s world: “One of my obsessions is silence, silence as a key need. And in a very noisy world, silence should be produced, must be ‘made,’ because it does not exist; an inner silence so that people return to be with themselves.” The importance of creating silence in everyday life is manifested in the works presented in the smaller gallery: a series of eight bronze heads that embody the proverbial principle “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.” The use of hands in these sculptures also refers to Plensa’s earlier works, like Jumeaux (2001) and En Tí (2004).
Jaume Plensa is one of the most respected and renowned sculptors working today. In addition to a long career of exhibition in traditional museums and galleries, he is a respected innovator and pioneer for his projects engaging with public space, which can now be found in over fourteen countries around the world.