Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) welcomed a beautiful new seven-metre-high cast iron sculpture last May by internationally acclaimed artist Jaume Plensa. Now, to celebrate the Park's 40th anniversary, Plensa gives a talk on November 11th about his recent work and influences.
‘Wilsis’ forms part of a display of new work in the open air by leading international artists, as part of YSP’s anniversary celebrations, including Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads (2010) by Ai Weiwei, Black and Blue: Invisible Men and the Masque of Blackness (2016) by Zak Ové, Matthew Day Jackson’s Magnificent Desolation (2013), Peter Randall-Page’s Shape in the Clouds III (2013), and Untitled: squatboulder (2014) and Untitled: triplestackboulders (2014) by Phyllida Barlow.
Wilsis (2016), overlooking the historic lakes at YSP, belongs to a series of portrait heads by the artist. The series depicts young girls from around the world, their eyes closed in a dreamlike state of contemplation. By making these portraits on such a monumental scale, Plensa transforms the ordinary into something extraordinary. This treatment is drawn from his belief that all human beings have the potential to be remarkable, regardless of background or status. Experiencing the work at YSP represents a journey of discovery, first glimpsed in a beautiful setting across the lake, and revealed fully as you walk around the landscape to discover it more closely.
The sculpture is a fascinating exploration of perspective through the flattening of form, an idea that grew out of Plensa’s desire to understand what happens on the other side, on the reverse of things with which we are familiar, such as letters printed on a page, or a portrait head on a coin. From the front the head appears realistic, yet from the side it is an extremely flattened relief. The artist’s use of cast iron marks a return to the material for which the artist first became known. Since that time, he has employed a wealth of different materials in order to express and convey complex ideas, including steel, glass, alabaster, basalt, resin, bronze and wood.
Plensa first exhibited at YSP as part of Artranspennine in 1998, showing his bronze sculpture Personal Miraculous Fountain (1993–4) in the Camellia House. On November 11th Plensa offers a talk in which he'll discuss his recent works and influences. The event is supported by Institut Ramon Llull.
About the artist
Jaume Plensa is one of the most respected and renowned Catalan 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. Plensa’s celebrated sculptures can be seen in Albright Knox Art Gallery, New York; Pérez Art Museum Miami, Florida; Millennium Park, Illinois; Olympic Sculpture Park, Washington; Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio; Burj Khalifa, United Arab Emirates; BBC Broadcasting Tower, London and St. Helens, England; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo and Ogijima, Japan; Shanghai IFC Mall, China; Bastion Saint-Jaume, France; amongst many other sites worldwide.
Solo exhibitions of Plensa’s work have been shown at prestigious institutions around the globe, including the Nasher Sculpture Center, Texas; Palacio Velázquez, Reina Sofia Museum, Spain; Institut Valencia d’Art Moderne, Spain; Musée Picasso, France; Yorkshire Sculpture Park, England; and the Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Finland. In 2015 and 2016, Jaume Plensa: Human Landscape travelled to the Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art, Tennessee; Tampa Museum of Art, Florida; and Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio. In 2016, The Max Ernst Museum in Brühl, Germany presented the major solo exhibition The Inside View. Jaume Plensa: Together, curated by YSP Director of Programme Clare Lilley was exhibited at the Basilica San Giorgio Maggiore in Italy as a collateral event of the 56th Venice Biennale, 2015, and received the Global Fine Arts Award. In 2017, Galerie Lelong, New York displayed solo exhibition Silence; the Virginia Museum of Fine Art commissioned a new sculpture, Chloe, for the Robins Sculpture Garden; and a major solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Saint-Etienne, France, opened on 10 March 2017. Plensa’s Tribute to dom Thierry Ruinart (2016) will feature in Frieze Sculpture 2017 (5 July–8 October 2017), curated by Clare Lilley, YSP Director of Programme.
Jaume Plensa returned to stage one of YSP’s most successful shows in 2011, which was also his first significant UK exhibition.
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