Jaume Plensa- for we are built of very words that tumble from our tongues

So, I discovered Jaume Plensa not too long ago, through my bible on text in art- simply called Art and Text, and was really intrigued by the few images I saw. Randomly going through the Guardian online with my cup of tea on Sunday, I saw he has a huge exhibition coming up at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and I wanted to share.

All images from Yorkshire Sculpture Park


The official blurb is rather breif:

“Plensa’s sculpture gives physical form to the intangible, using the body as a way of exploring what it means to be human and engaging with universal themes: love, memory, language and despair. Other works need the presence of a human body to make them complete, such as Song of Songs. These glass cabins, immersed in coloured light, are only large enough for one visitor to enter and are spaces for solitary contemplation.”

This doesn’t seem to accurately describe all the figures inscribed with text- and there is no mention of what the words on the bodies in this exhibition actually are. So I went digging. And found another interview with Jaume Plensa, about another exhibition in Tokyo, also featuring different inscribed bodies, and his commentary was very interesting,

“I have always been working with words. My main theory is that they are constantly around us. We use words as an extension of our bodies, to expand our thoughts and ideas to the external world. So the body is a very noisy organism […] Our bodies are constantly creating noise – like a perpetual voice in conversation. But it creates this voice in a silent attitude.”

“The sculptures in [the sounds of silence] exhibition have lists inscribed on them – the craters of Venus, parts of the body, and so on. These are metaphors for the concept that life is permanently tattooing our bodies. Every second, every moment, our experiences are tattooed on our skin. But the ink is transparent. And then, suddenly you may encounter somebody who can read it and will give you feedback.” “The meaning of the tattoos inscribed on your skin are never clear. I like this idea of a strange kind of silence, where you get all this information from a single vessel.”

I liked this idea, of that maybe we are all searching for someone who can read our invisible inks, that without words, someone can connect with you and give you feedback on the etchings you engrave onto yourself, or have been etched onto you by others, experiences, life in general.

He explores “the body as a container for words, for silence, for vibrations [and] hope[s] that the visitors will recognize their own portraits through my self-portraits, and that the works will help them to look ‘inside’ in order to understand the world around them. It is a silent exhibition, amidst the noisy era that we are living in today. Hopefully it will help visitors to face their own words and silences, and listen to the noises emitted from their own bodies.”

taken from The Sounds of Silence, Tokyo Art Beat, Lena Oishi, 2005


I also discovered Jaume Plensa had designed a Bluebeard, the opera, and for those who know me well, you know my personal love of fairytales. This was also my thesis piece for School.

In this, for what seems like the first time in his operatic work, he has used his text pieces, and the results are very appropriate for fairytale pieces- gigantic curtains of text that the protagonist tries to run through and escape into, and well as gigantic rain curtains that envelope the stage. Some Pictures….

all pictures from  http://www.jaumeplensa.com/

(from the works and projects section if you’d like to see more)

Guess whom I want to work with now?

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