In pictures: Find out how two summer exhibitions in Yorkshire and Antibes allow Jaume Plensa to present his audience-pleasing sculptures in a new light
Art lovers have the opportunity to discover the work of Catalan artist Jaume Plensa this summer, in two exhibitions in two separate European holiday destinations.
First, head to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in the north of England, where the exhibition ‘In small places, close to home’ is on. Plensa is no stranger to the magnificent 500-acre site founded in 1977: he held an exhibition there in 2011 and permanently houses two of his works, including the serene 23-foot-tall sculpture. Wilsis (2016), located by the lake in the park. But rather than the monumental outdoor sculptures for which he is famous, this new solo exhibition, which runs until October 30, focuses on the artist’s drawing practice.
“Drawing is an incredible laboratory where you can develop intuitions, I feel much freer than when I work with sculpture. Drawing is a place of freedom”, said the artist, born in Barcelona in 1955, on the importance of drawing in his artistic practice.
Covering two locations in the park, the exhibition features new works in addition to drawings from the archive. In the park’s Weston Gallery, Face (2008), a series of portraits taken from the artist’s collection of ancient anthropology and geography books, is accompanied by excerpts from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “the most beautiful poem in the world” , according to the artist. Also exhibited for the first time is a group of 28 drawings entitled April is the cruellest month (2020-2021), created during the Covid lockdown and tracing the collective psychological reactions of humans around the uncertainties of the pandemic.
The exhibition continues in the neighboring 18th century chapel, where two calm marble sculptures of the heads of girls with closed eyes are installed in the middle of the room, in dialogue with 16 large-scale drawings of unknown faces from the series. Anonyms (2003), as if they were a community of souls gathering in the meditative space, which is guarded by the 13-foot top White Nomad (2021) erected outside the chapel.
Meanwhile, the Picasso Museum in Antibes, on the beautiful coast of south-eastern France, is hosting the ‘Light Eve’ exhibition until September 25.
Timed to mark the 10th anniversary of the installation of the artist’s monumental sculpture Nomadic (2010) (a much larger version than the newly installed piece at Yorkshire Sculpture Park) on the terrace of St. Jaume’s Bastion, which has become a local landmark, the new museum exhibition delves deeply into Plensa’s artistic practice. It brings together some 90 works created between 1982 and 2022. These rare drawings reveal Plensa’s artistic evolution, as well as his attachment to the use of alphabets and characters from different cultures and the depth of the human psyche, which have set the stage for the development of the sculptures for which he is best known today.
Discover below the highlights of the two Plensa fairs:
“In Small Places, Close to Home”, Yorkshire Sculpture Park
“The light watches”, Picasso Museum, Antibes
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