DB: what aspects of your background and upbringing have shaped your creative principles and philosophies?

JP: perhaps my mediterranean origin has influenced my passion for poetry and music, as well as the permanent desire to work with and for the community.

DB: where do you work on your projects, and how is your studio activated on a day to day basis?

JP: I have always said that my study is located in my head, in the nomadic displacement, and in the multiple activities between materials and ideas.

jaume plensa unveils monumental white resin head in newport pier park
jaume plensa, UTOPIA model for frederik meijer gardens & sculpture park, in grand rapids, michigan | image courtesy of the artist

DB: what is the best moment of the day?

JP: I have always liked the dawn, the awakening of the day. it seems that everything is still possible.

DB: you’ve long explored an interest in philosophical and spiritual expressions of the human body — can you recall the moment you first acknowledged your interest in the human condition, and what impact that had on you at the time?

JP: I believe that the most important things in life are always invisible; connections that embrace our body in its mysterious relationship with nature and community.

jaume plensa unveils monumental white resin head in newport pier park
jaume plensa, UTOPIA | image courtesy of the artist

DB: your work has ranged from public sculpture monumental in scale, to more intimate drawings that voice a private search for expression — how does your approach to a project change depending on medium and form?

JP: I can use a large telescope to see the stars illuminating the cosmos or a small microscope to contemplate the humble cells that give life to a simple organism. I am inspired by the wonderful friction of opposites that seeks to fuse body and soul, matter and spirit.

DB: why has it been important for you to create work that is accessible to the general public, and that can reach audiences outside of gallery settings?

JP: I think that art in the public space has the extraordinary function of introducing beauty into the daily life of the community, creating spaces of intimacy and silence.

jaume plensa unveils monumental white resin head in newport pier park
jaume plensa, LUCIA (nest), 2021 | alabaster 571/2×401/8×201/2in(146x102x52cm) 874 kg © jaume plensa | courtesy of galerie lelong & co.

DB: how do you intend your work to engage with the cities in which they reside? what impressions do you hope it conjures? what dialogue do you hope it provokes?

JP: each public space asks for a different answer. there is no single formula for intervention. in any case, I always try to integrate my personal tradition and experience with the specific tradition of the site, to create a dialogue between my work and the place, between my dreams and the dreams of the community.

jaume plensa unveils monumental white resin head in newport pier park
behind-the-scenes in jaume plensa’s studio, 2021 | image courtesy of the artist and galerie lelong & co.

DB: what are you currently fascinated by, and how is it feeding into your artistic practice?

JP: I am currently working in stone. the ancestral memory of this material condensed over multiple centuries turns a simple boulder into a sophisticated time capsule.

jaume plensa unveils monumental white resin head in newport pier park
behind-the-scenes in jaume plensa’s studio, 2021 | image courtesy of the artist and galerie lelong & co.

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jaume plensa, MARIA WHISPERING, 2021 | marble 995/8x331/2x447/8in(253x85x114cm) 2489 kg © jaume plensa | courtesy of galerie lelong & co.

jaume plensa, MARIA WHISPERING, 2021 | marble 995/8×331/2×447/8in(253x85x114cm) 2489 kg © jaume plensa | courtesy of galerie lelong & co.

jaume plensa, LAMIN, 2021 | alabaster 531/8x181/8x221/8in(135x46x56cm) 374 kg © jaume plensa | courtesy of galerie lelong & co.

jaume plensa, LAMIN, 2021 | alabaster 531/8×181/8×221/8in(135x46x56cm) 374 kg © jaume plensa | courtesy of galerie lelong & co.

jaume plensa, CARLA, 2020 | stainless steel | 120 7/8 x 30 3/4 x 55 1/8 in (307 x 78 x 140 cm) 796 kg © jaume plensa | courtesy of galerie lelong & co.

jaume plensa, CARLA, 2020 | stainless steel | 120 7/8 x 30 3/4 x 55 1/8 in (307 x 78 x 140 cm) 796 kg © jaume plensa | courtesy of galerie lelong & co.

project info:

artist: jaume plensa

galleries: richard gray gallery and galerie lelong & co.

water’s soul

location: newport development, jersey city, new jersey

developers: LeFrakand simon

UTOPIA

location: frederik meijer gardens & sculpture park, grand rapids, michigan

NEST

location: galerie lelong & co., new york

duration: october 29 – december 11, 2021