Jaume Plensa: Silent Noise

September 18 - December 12, 2004
Juame Plensa

Jaume Plensa is a Spanish artist who has had a lively career that began in the late 1970s. Exhibitions of his work--seen both in one-person and group formats--have been plentiful as are the number of public commissions that he has received. However, he is much better-known in Europe and so it is with great pleasure that the University Museum of Contemporary Art presents Jaume Plensa: Silent Noise, the first major traveling exhibition of the artist's work in the United States that was organized by the General Directorate for Cultural and Scientific Affairs of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation in collaboration with the State Corporation for Spanish Cultural Action Abroad (SEACEX) and curated by The Arts Club of Chicago.

Plensa integrates a wide variety of materials such as iron, glass, bronze and resin to take best advantage of the more intangible qualities of light and sound as well as the ideas that arise from spoken or written texts. His main preoccupation is with the body and the manner in which we perceive our world from the purely sensory to more complicated thoughts, gestures, and expressions. It is his realization of this participatory mode--an always present, primal interaction between perceiver and perceived--that underlies all of his work, no matter the shape it assumes. Adherent to the whole being composed of the particular and the particular contributing to the whole, Plensa feels constrained by a consistent "vocabulary". And, so, we encounter a sculpture such as Tattoo (2003), a large, somewhat Buddha-like figure in a kneeling position on a low platform. A spectrum of internal lights lends a transformative quality to the otherwise static figure, the 'skin" of which has been inscribed with questions taken from a children's book that helps the young reader begin to define the world that surrounds him/her. Our skin, of course, is the delicate boundary that maintains our shape and separates us from other beings and entities, but it is also a porous membrane, allowing us to breathe in, absorb, process, and finally breathe out. Tattoo speaks of a cyclical system whereby that which we inhale, both literally and figuratively, is composed of myriad other exhalations.

A few yards away, we find ourselves among eight curtains of texts that comprise Silent Rain (2003). This piece is made of rows of cast iron letters suspended from the ceiling that spell put excerpts of the writings of some of Plensa's favorite authors: Baudelaire, Blake, Dante, (Vincent Andres) Estelles, Ginsberg, Goethe, Shakespeare, and (William Carlos) Williams. Given the hanging arrangement of the letters and the fact that the texts are in their original language, legibility and understanding become less important than the physicality of being immersed within a system of visible marks--in this case small sculptural objects--that are the equivalent of uttered sounds. Silent Rain turns this equivalence of gestures and sounds, and the meanings that they hold, into a thoroughly carnal experience by which language is inseparable from feeling.
The exhibition was originally presented at The Arts Club of Chicago from January 20 through March 27, 2004 and was then on view at the Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans from April 23 through June 20, 2004. The exhibition was organized by the General Directorate for Cultural and Scientific Affairs of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation in collaboration with the State Corporation for Spanish Cultural Action Abroad (SEACEX) and curated by The Arts Club of Chicago.The University Museum of Contemporary Art is the exhibition's last venue and is supported in part by funds from the UMass Arts Council. An illustrated catalogue, published by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation in collaboration with the State Corporation for Spanish Cultural Action Abroad (SEACEX), and curated by The Arts Club of Chicago, is available for purchase at the University Museum of Contemporary Art.

The artist recently completed the monumental Crown Fountain for Chicago's Millennium Park, and was one of several artists and architects invited to contribute to the many sights of this newly created 24 acre sculpture garden (www.millenniumpark.org). Other examples of Plensa's numerous public projects are located in Barcelona, Tokyo, Jerusalem, Pistoia (Italy), and Toronto.

Jaume Plensa was born in Barcelona in 1955, and lives and works in Barcelona and Paris. He is represented by Galerie Lelong, New York and Paris, and the Richard Gray Gallery, New York and Chicago.
Jaume Plensa: Silent Noisewas organized by the General Directorate for Cultural and Scientific Affairs of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation in collaboration with the State Corporation for Spanish Cultural Action Abroad (SEACEX) and curated by The Arts Club of Chicago

Contact

Open
Tuesday-Friday:
11am to 4:30pm
Saturday & Sunday:
2pm to 5pm

Open until 8 PM every first Thursday of the month

Closed
Mondays
Academic Breaks
State Holidays
 
Contact Us
Main Number
(413) 545 3672
 

Staff Contacts
Directions

Map of UMCA
151 Presidents Dr
Amherst, MA 01003

Connect

 







Related Media

Introduction

Images

Press Release


Jaume Plensa

Jaume Plensa Catalog

11 x 11.5 inches; 120 pages; full color illustrations.
Published in 2003
Price $25