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The human face, contemplative, serene and oddly elongated, is a recurring theme in the work of Catalan artist and sculptor Jaume Plensa. Two of these sculptures – meet Anna and Paula – are coming to Galeria Leme as part of Plensa’s first exhibition in Brazil.
The two female faces are modeled on daughters of friends of the artist. Paula is made of alabaster with an enticingly smooth, almost translucent surface. Anna, Plensa’s first sculpture in wood, wears a similarly indistinct expression to Paula, as if invoking observers to project their own memory of someone only vaguely remembered.
The exhibition’s third and final work is a stainless-steel sculpture of a seated figure, Waves 1, which while less striking than Plensa’s faces, gets more curious the closer you look. A mesh of letters (from different alphabets, as well as characters) interweave in a jumble which, devoid of any specific language, communicate a notion of collective human memory and spirituality.
Plensa is perhaps best known for his large-scale public sculptures – a 44-foot face, Echo, was a watchful presence over joggers in Madison Square in New York for a few months in 2011. Visitors to Rio de Janeiro in September and October 2012 may chance upon Awilda, a 39-foot elongated face made of fiberglass, resin and powdered marble, taking up temporary residence in Botafogo.