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.

CNA / Ariadna Matamoros

May 7, 2011 12:43 AM

New York (ACN).- Jaume Plensa unveils a giant sculpture in New York’s 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. ‘Echo’ 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. “We 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”, states Plensa to CNA. “New York seems a very appropriate place to make this reflection, but in a silent way” he added. “I hope to create an intimate space in the middle of New York”. In addition, 41 works from Jaume Plensa are on show in Manhattan’s Gallery Lelong; there are 40 captions of anonymous people and another giant marble head. Plensa’s exhibition ‘Anonymous’ 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 ‘Crown Fountain’ in Chicago’s 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. ‘Echo’ is on shown temporarily, but considering the artist’s notoriety and success, it will soon find a permanent location.

Despite being born in Barcelona and living between the Catalan capital and Paris, Plensa’s works are mainly abroad, in the United States, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom, Germany or France. In London, Plensa set ‘Breathing’ on the roof of BBC’s 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’s work is on show in Saint Helens, next to Liverpool. It is a similar sculpture to ‘Echo’ called ‘Dream’. 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. ‘Echo’ is all white, made by fibreglass and with a surface of plastic and marble. “The work is thought to not belonging to the place, like a black and white photograph cut out and paste in an environment of colour”, Plensa explained. “Now the dialogue begins between the place and the people looking at the work”, he added.