Jaume Plensa’s latest site-specific installation titled ‘Echo’ marks his long anticipated debut for New York City and is both the largest and costliest project to date for the Madison Square Park Conservancy. At 44 feet tall, the portrait of a nine-year old girl from Plensa’s hometown Barcelona entrances spectators with its monumental scale, distorted facial features, and the white polyester resin and marble dust veneer that creates the illusion of an otherworldly apparition or hologram sprouting from the Oval Lawn.
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Plensa’s inspiration for the piece draws from the Greek mythological nymph Echo who relished in her own thoughts and later has her voice deprived only to repeat the words of others. As the sculpture’s closed eyes suggest a girl adrift in a flurry of thoughts and dreams, it is Plensa’s hope to inspire others to retreat from our mindless conversations and alternatively listen to the voice between our ears.
For over 25 years, Plensa has exhibited more than 30 public art installations worldwide and is one of the leading contemporary artists. In 1993, the French Ministry of Culture conferred him the distinction Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres. One of his widely recognized works to date is Crown Fountain (2004) in Millenium Park, Chicago. Two glass brick towers displaying faces in the form of LED lights straddle a granite reflection pool and intermittently project a stream of water.
Plensa is represented by Galerie Lelong in New York and Richard Gray Gallery in Chicago.