Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Jaume Plensa: people of letters

Jaume Plensa, Spanish
“I, you, she or he...” (2006)
© Jaume Plensa
Frederick Meijer Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids, Michigan
photograph by versluis, 2011

Jaume Plensas sculpture includes three figures and the photographs above indicate a front view, a back view of another figure along with a close-up.

The quintessential collage artist of the twentieth century, Kurt Schwitters once wrote, “Not the word but the letter is the original material of poetry.” [1] In addition, perhaps Plensa’s sculptural content suggests “we are hollow men” (T.S. Eliot).

In this sense Plensa’s figurative sculptures are poetic soliloquies. His classic figural forms seem paradoxical as partially transparent yet solid. This piece suggests a community or “family” comprised of a group of three individual figures. Each figure is formed by an open mesh of metallic uppercase sans serif letters that are tack-welded together. The figures are seated on flat limestone boulders and seem to balance on the stone.

Technically, there's a smoothness and polish to the edge of the metal letters, which possibly suggests that they may have been cut by water-jetting or Wire EDM.

Plensa is best known for the “Crown Fountain” in Chicago's Millennium Park, which was installed in 2004.

  1. Schwitters, Kurt. “Consistent Poetry,” 1924. Modernism: An Anthology of Sources and Documents. Ed. Vassiliki Kolocotroni, Jane Goldman, and Olga Taxidou. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1998. 284. Print.

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