Jaume Plensa, 2011 (Spain)
Jaume Plensa was born, raised and currently resides in Barcelona, Spain. He creates sculptures and installations that unify individuals through connections of spirituality, the body, and collective memory. Using a wide range of materials, Plensa lends physical weight and volume to components of the human condition and the ephemeral. A very significant part of his work is in the field of sculpture in the public space with installations in several cities in Spain, France, Japan, England, Korea, Germany, Canada and here in the United States. The Crown Fountain, which was unveiled in Chicago’s Millennium Park in 2004, is one of Plensa’s largest and most celebrated projects.
Walking up the path you immediately see the powerful and silent face of Julia. With her serene expression with her eyes closed, she looks as if she is dreaming or meditating. This work encourages the viewer to look inward, to understand the beauty hidden inside oneself for a more honest relationship with oneself. Plensa’s models are real people, whose likenesses he captures using a laser scanner, before he manipulates, elongates and flattens the image using 3-D computer modeling software. Julia’s head is stretched, like an optical illusion, as if you were looking at it from an angle. Rather than a straightforward portrait, he plays with proportions, giving a sense of spirituality to the faces, as he examines the relationship between body and soul.