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Celebrated Catalan sculptor accepts honorary degree

Jaume Plensa’s art can be found all over the world, including in Barcelona, London, Chicago, and more


06 November 2018 02:56 PM


ACN | Barcelona

Have you ever walked past of Barcelona’s modernist Palau de la Música theater? What about played in the Crown Fountain in Millennial Park in Chicago, or admired the BBC Broadcasting House in London? In that case, you will have seen the art of Catalan sculptor Jaume Plensa, who was just awarded the Honorary Degree from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB).

Plensa defends the role of art in society

In the town of Cerdanyola del Vallès, Plensa was presented with the UAB Honorary Degree “for his valuable contributions as a sculptor of international renown having developed a sculpture-based concept of zoomorphic forms, as well as for his artistic character, multifaceted in materials, sensations, and ideas.”

The dean of the university, Margarita Arboix, defined Plensa as “the most internationally renowned living Catalan artist, regards public installation works,” whose sculptures, added Arboix, “have life and soul.” 

  • “The uselessness of art makes it essential in our society”

    Jaume Plensa · Artist 

Plensa himself, in receiving the award, defended the very nature of art itself. “The uselessness of art makes it essential in our society.” What’s more, the medium of sculpture and plastic art, for him, is like home, “a place one can always come back to,” he reflected.

Many recognitions and art worldwide

This is not Plensa’s first recognition, which include la Creu de Sant Jordi – the Saint Jordi Cross – the highest civil distinction given in Catalonia. This joins other awards from entities in countries like the United States, France, and Spain.

Jaume Plensa was born in 1955 in Barcelona, where he also held his first exhibition in 1980. Since then, he’s lived and worked in Germany, Belgium, England, France, and the United States – but is back to calling the Catalan capital his home.  He’s taught at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

In Barcelona, one can find the piece ‘Carmen’ outside of the modernist Palau de la Música, but Plensa’s work is scattered worldwide. Most notable are the animated faces of the Crown Fountain in Chicago’s Millennial Park, as well as the installation ‘Breathe’ atop the BBC Broadcasting House in London.

To see more of his work, the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art will host an exhibit on the renowned artist, opening from December 1, 2018, to end of April 2019


  • Sculptor Jaume Plensa receives Honorary Degree from UAB dean on November 6 2018 (by Àlex Recolons)

  • Sculptor Jaume Plensa receives Honorary Degree from UAB dean on November 6 2018 (by Àlex Recolons)