Jaume Plensa

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Jaume Plensa
O Jaume Plensa - Premi Atlàntida (cropped).jpg
Jaume Plensa (December 2015)
Born (1955-08-23) August 23, 1955 (age 67)
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
EducationLlotja School
Alma materEscola Superior de Belles Arts de Sant Jordi
Notable work

Jaume Plensa i Suñé (Catalan pronunciation: [ˈʒawmə ˈplɛnsə]; born 23 August 1955)[1] is a Spanish visual artist, sculptor, designer and engraver. He is a versatile artist who has also created opera sets, video projections and acoustic installations. He worked with renowned Catalan theatrical group La Fura dels Baus. He is better known for his large sculptures made up of letters and numbers.[2][3]


Plensa was born in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, He left the studies of fine arts in Barcelona and continued to train in a self-taught way.[4]


Plensa's works include the Crown Fountain at Millennium Park in Chicago, Illinois,[5] which opened in July 2004.[6][7] The fountain is composed of a black granite reflecting pool placed between a pair of glass brick towers. The towers are 50 feet (15 m) tall,[6] and they use light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to display digital videos on the inward faces. In the summer of 2007 he participated in the Chicago Public Art exhibit, Cool Globes: Hot Ideas for a Cooler Planet.

Another Plensa piece is Blake in Gateshead in North East England, a laser beam that on special occasions shines high into the night sky over Gateshead's Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art.

In 2007, working closely with a group of local ex-miners, he was also commissioned to create a new work on the landmark site of a former colliery near St Helens, Merseyside, as part of the Big Art Project, a major national public art initiative linked to Channel 4. Unveiled in spring 2009, Dream consists of an elongated white structure 20 metres (66 ft) tall, weighing 500 tons, which has been carved to resemble the head and neck of a young woman with her eyes closed in meditation. The structure is coated in sparkling white Spanish dolomite, as a contrast to the coal which used to be mined there.[8]

On 16 June 2008 Plensa's sculpture of a listening glass entitled Breathing was dedicated by the incumbent Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, as a memorial to journalists killed whilst undertaking their work. The sculpture in steel and glass sits atop a new wing of Broadcasting House in London. At 22:00 GMT each evening a beam of light will be projected from the sculpture extending 1 km into the sky for 30 minutes to coincide with the BBC News at Ten.[9]

In 2010, Plensa's Alchemist was installed in front of the Stratton Student Center, facing the main entrance of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is a large, hollow seated figure similar to other contemporary Plensa figures, except that it is composed of numerals and mathematical symbols, to honor MIT's traditional STEM-focused teaching and research. The sculpture was donated anonymously on the occasion of MIT's 150th anniversary.[10]

El alma del Ebro was created for the International Exposition in Zaragoza,[11] the theme of which was "Water and Sustainable Development". It is eleven meters high, the sculpted letters representing cells of the human body which is over 60% water. Its white letters and hollow structure invite the viewer to look inside and reflect on the relationship between human beings and water. A similar sculpture entitled Singapore Soul (2011) was installed in front of the Ocean Financial Centre in Singapore. And an ensemble piece entitled I, You, She, He... with three figures composed of the letters, each seated on large flat boulders, can be seen at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

From May to mid-August 2011 the work Echo was displayed in Madison Square Park in Manhattan.[12]

In November 2012, the Albright–Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York unveiled a 32-ton sculpture by Plensa called Laura. The 20-foot (6.1 m) tall sculpture is composed of 20 massive pieces of marble from the south of Spain.[13]

In 2013, Plensa installed a sculpture named Ainsa I at the entrance of the Olin Business School of Washington University in St. Louis.[14]

In 2017, Love [15] was installed in the Frisian city of Leeuwarden, Netherlands, as the city was the European Capitol of Culture[16] in 2018.

In 2020, Dreaming was installed outside of the Richmond-Adelaide Centre in Toronto.[17] Also in 2020, Behind the Walls was installed outside the University of Michigan Museum of Art.[18][19]

Water's Soul (2021) is along the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway in the Newport section of Jersey City.



See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jaume Plensa, Catalan Arts
  2. ^ "Jaume Plensa", Circulo de Bellas Artes de Madrid (Spanish), retrieved 17 August 2022
  3. ^ "Breathing - a new sculpture for Broadcasting House", BBC Press Office, retrieved 30 July 2008
  4. ^ "Jaume Plensa". Gran Enciclopedia Catalana (in Catalan). Barcelona. .
  5. ^ Millennium Park :: Art and Architecture :: The Crown Fountain, www.millenniumpark.org, archived from the original on 24 July 2008, retrieved 30 July 2008.
  6. ^ a b Artropolis, Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc, 2007, archived from the original on 5 November 2007, retrieved 13 June 2007.
  7. ^ "Crown Fountain", Archi•Tech, Stamats Business Media, July–August 2005, archived from the original on 2 December 2006, retrieved 13 June 2007.
  8. ^ "Dream - Jaume Plensa | Ronnie Soo". Archived from the original on 6 August 2010. Retrieved 29 July 2010..
  9. ^ Breathing – A New Sculpture for Broadcasting House, BBC Press Office, 16 June 2008.
  10. ^ "Alchemist". MIT List Visual Arts Center. MIT. 24 April 2014. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  11. ^ "An overview of three families of works by Catalan sculptor Jaume Plensa, b.1955". Double Stone Steel. 7 July 2020. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  12. ^ Madison Square Park Conservancy, retrieved 25 June 2011.
  13. ^ Dabkowski, Colin (23 November 2012), "Meet 'Laura,' a new sculpture by Jaume Plensa at the Albright-Knox", The Buffalo News.
  14. ^ "Artwork Detail | Kemper Art Museum". www.kemperartmuseum.wustl.edu. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  15. ^ Love
  16. ^ Cultural capital website
  17. ^ "Toronto just got a giant head sculpture that might hurt your brain".
  18. ^ "Monumental Outdoor Sculpture by Jaume Plensa to Change the Face of U-M Museum of Art". umma.umich.edu. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  19. ^ "Jaume Plensa: Behind the Walls | University of Michigan Museum of Art". umma.umich.edu. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  20. ^ a b c d e "Jaume Plensa, Premio Velázquez 2013", La Vanguardia (in Spanish), 25 November 2013
  21. ^ "Marsh Award for Excellence in Public Sculpture". Marsh Christian Trust. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  22. ^ El Govern distingeix 25 personalitats i 15 entitats amb la Creu de Sant Jordi (in Catalan)
  23. ^ Cia, Blanca (25 November 2013), "Poesía en escultura: Jaume Plensa, Premio Velázquez 2013", El País (in Spanish)
  24. ^ "Jaume Plensa, Premio Velázquez de Artes Plásticas 2013", El Mundo (in Spanish), 25 November 2013

External links[edit]