I didn't go out in search of Jaume Plensa's sculpture, but instead it kept finding me. In my travels lately, I keep bumping into the work of the Spanish sculptor. In New Orleans, I became enthralled by this work made of a lattice of letters in the sculpture park at the New Orleans Museum of Art. A month later, I was confronting with him again. This time walking along Sunset Beach in Vancouver, BC as he called to me from the hillside.
By the time I got home I couldn't get this sculptor out of my head. Why did he keep showing up everywhere I went? Who is he?
So I did what any modern girl does when she finds someone she likes...I googled him. And what I discovered was a prolific artist whose work has been exploding in outdoor spaces in the past decade. I also realized that I had met his work before, at his Crown Fountain in Millennium Park in Chicago. It's hard to miss the two walls of LEDs that cycle through oversized faces and spill water like a fountain when a pursed lip face appears. In the summer, local children (and those young at heart) flock to the sculpture to play between the two pillars. The interaction and dialog that the piece creates with its audience was more successful than Plensa had dreamed. Its success with both the viewer and the art world, must have been the catalyst for his inclusion in sculpture gardens throughout the world.
Most recently, Plensa created a dialog with New Yorkers with the temporary installation of Echo in Madison Square Park this past summer. An almost 50 foot elongated head was installed in the middle of the park and caused passersby to stop and wonder "What is this?" (And as it appears in this photograph, quickly ignore it in favor of sunbathing.)
While it's not possible to still view the New York work, its predecessor, Dream is on view at the Sutton Manor Colliery in St. Helens, midway between Liverpool and Manchester.
After a fair amount of research, I find myself giving into Plensa's request for a dialog and begin to daydream of traveling the world to have a conversation with his works of art. The UK would be a great place to start, with his Dream and Breathing easily accessible, as well as a solo exhibition at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park on view until January 22, 2012.
I think it's time we take our relationship to the next level and instead of just casually bumping into each other on the road, it's time for a proper date.
If you're interested in learning more about Jaume Plensa, check out Carol Kino's May 5, 2011 article in the New York Times, visit Jaume Plensa's website or view a collection of videos from the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. I particularly enjoyed this hour long lecture he recently gave on his public art career.