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The Catalan artist Jaume Plensa unveils ‘Echo’, a 13-metre sculpture in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park

Plensa is the artist behind the famous ‘Crown Fountain’ in Chicago’s Millenium Park, as well as London’s blue light ‘Breathing’ located on the roof of the BBC’s Egton House, dedicated to journalists killed in action. ‘Echo’ is a giant white head with closed eyes, similar to ‘Dream’ set in Liverpool. Plensa’s sculptures deal with human forms, communication, emptiness and a globalised identity.

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07 May 2011 12:43 AM

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ACN / Ariadna Matamoros

New York (ACN).- Jaume Plensa unveils a giant sculpture in New York\u2019s midtown. In Madison Square Park, in Manhattan, a 13-metre white head of a young girl with her eyes closed has been set this week. \u2018Echo\u2019 will be on show until August 14th. The work is inspired by the nymph Echo, condemned by the Gods to repeat the words of other people and not able to pronounce her own ones. \u201CWe are living in a noisy moment of information and thinking in which we are not sure any more if what we say is ours or the echo of other words\u201D, states Plensa to CNA. \u201CNew York seems a very appropriate place to make this reflection, but in a silent way\u201D he added. \u201CI hope to create an intimate space in the middle of New York\u201D. In addition, 41 works from Jaume Plensa are on show in Manhattan\u2019s Gallery Lelong; there are 40 captions of anonymous people and another giant marble head. Plensa\u2019s exhibition \u2018Anonymous\u2019 is on show from May 6th to June 18th. Plensa has many works in the United States, but his most famous creation is probably the \u2018Crown Fountain\u2019 in Chicago\u2019s Millenium Park. The work is formed by two 15-metres blocks, set on a black pool of water, facing each other, and on which human faces are displayed by LED lights. \u2018Echo\u2019 is on shown temporarily, but considering the artist\u2019s notoriety and success, it will soon find a permanent location.


Despite being born in Barcelona and living between the Catalan capital and Paris, Plensa\u2019s works are mainly abroad, in the United States, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom, Germany or France. In London, Plensa set \u2018Breathing\u2019 on the roof of BBC\u2019s Egton House. The sculpture is an inverted glass cone with a poem on it. Each day, at 10pm, the cone emits an intense column of blue light, 900 metres high for 30 minutes. It coincides with BBC news and it pays homage to all the journalists killed in action. Also in the UK, another Catalan artist\u2019s work is on show in Saint Helens, next to Liverpool. It is a similar sculpture to \u2018Echo\u2019 called \u2018Dream\u2019. Actually, many sculptures from Plensa are giant human heads or forms. They are normally in a quiet position, as if they were thinking or sleeping; motionless giants, transparent, formed by letters, steel or white concrete, isolated and alone in the middle of an open space. \u2018Echo\u2019 is all white, made by fibreglass and with a surface of plastic and marble. \u201CThe work is thought to not belonging to the place, like a black and white photograph cut out and paste in an environment of colour\u201D, Plensa explained. \u201CNow the dialogue begins between the place and the people looking at the work\u201D, he added.

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  • 'Echo', Jaume Plensa's head located at New York's Madison Square Park (by A. Matamoros)

  • 'Echo', Jaume Plensa's head located at New York's Madison Square Park (by A. Matamoros)