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Jepson opens Jaume Plensa’s ‘Talking Continents’ exhibition


Written and photographed by Perrin Smith

The work of internationally-renowned artist and sculpture Jaume Plensa is coming to the Telfair Museums’ Jepson Center for the Arts. The exhibition is entitled “Talking Continents” and will be on view from Friday, March 3, until June 9, 2019. 

The exhibition features many of the works of Jaume Plensa, an artist from Barcelona who is best known for his large-scale installations and public artworks. Plensa is also the creator of the widely-known Crown Fountain in Chicago. His work is often large, while simultaneously remaining interested in the individual.

“Talking Continents” features 19 stainless steel “boulders” suspended from the ceiling just above the ground. The suspended boulders are meant to represent land, continents and people. Each “boulder” is abstracted and made of letters from 8 different alphabets: Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese and Latin. Even though the pieces are large in scale and spread across a wide room, they are considered to be one complete, total work of art.

In addition to the large central installation, the exhibition also features a sculpture and three graphite drawings from the artist’s “Slumberland” series. The sculpture, entitled “Laura II” is, like his other work on display, large in scale. “Laura II” is a massive laser-cut alabaster sculpture of a slightly distorted head, which weighs around 1,700 pounds. The three graphite drawings, much like the sculpture “Laura II”, feature distorted faces of sleeping people.

Plensa’s body of work is interested in combining new technology with old materials. Plensa’s work is also meant to be introspective and meditative. “Talking Continents” is made to challenge the idea of globalism and nationalism, while placing focus on the individual within the issues. The exhibition space is set up so the visitors can walk around the sculptures and floating orbs. The Jepson Center is hoping this will allow visitors to “consider their physical and emotional relationships” with the installation, as well as to, “create a meditative, spiritual space.”

The Jepson Center also wishes that “Talking Continents” creates relevant discord about nationalism. “I hope it will show visitors both how we’re different and also the issues that bring us together, as well as showing an artist’s place in that conversation.” said Rachel Reese, Telfair Museums’ associate curator of modern and contemporary art.

“Talking Continents” will be on display in the Telfair Museums’ Jepson Center from March 3 until June 9, 2019.