Jaume Plensa

Secret Garden

Gray Warehouse

September 14 - November 11, 2017

September 14 - November 11, 2017
Gray Warehouse, 2044 West Carroll Ave, Chicago
Opening Reception: Thursday, September 14, 6-8 PM at Gray Warehouse

September 14 - December 2, 2017
Richard Gray Gallery, 875 North Michigan Ave, Chicago

Richard Gray Gallery is pleased to announce two exhibitions of work by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa. Located at Gray Warehouse, Secret Garden presents recent sculptures in wood, stainless steel, and bronze, in conjunction with a suite of drawings. The exhibition continues at Richard Gray Gallery’s Hancock space with a portrait series carved in alabaster, as well as a selection of historical works in a second exhibition titled One Thought Fills Immensity. Featuring works from 1989 to 2002, One Thought Fills Immensity offers a deeper view into the artist’s prolific career.

The two exhibitions open with a public reception for the artist at Gray Warehouse on Thursday, September 14 from 6-8pm. An exhibition walk-through and Q&A with Jaume Plensa and curator Brooke Kamin Rapaport will take place at Gray Warehouse on Friday, September 15 at 10:30am.

Secret Garden expands upon Plensa’s long-time study of portraiture presenting a new body of work in wood, stainless steel, bronze, and alabaster, and a suite of works on paper. This exhibition marks the international debut of a series of large portraits rendered in stainless steel ­– a first for the artist. Secret Garden posits the mind and body as spaces of great potential. For Plensa, silence is an essential component for contemplation and the activation of this potential. In his ruminations on silence, Plensa questions the efficacy of verbal communication and asks his viewers to seek growth and potential from within.

The pursuit of self-knowledge is a central concept in Plensa’s studio practice. In his work, Plensa creates physical and psychological spaces within the din of the everyday that encourage quietude and allow for abstract thought. One Thought Fills Immensity borrows its title from William Blake’s Proverbs of Hell, 1790. As an avid reader of literature, Plensa finds inspiration in the work of poets like José Ángel Valente, William Blake, and Elias Canetti. On Blake, the artist states “‘One thought fills immensity’ [is] a marvelous concept in which our ideas are expanding out [and] filling up the space, not with physical objects, but with energy.” The pursuit of a heightened awareness and inquiry is articulated across Plensa’s oeuvre. One Thought Fills Immensity features important early works such as Firenze II (1992), the first work in which Plensa took the concept of the question as a point of departure.

The two exhibitions will be included in a forthcoming monograph on Jaume Plensa published by Skira Rizzoli. Contributions by: Brooke Kamin Rapaport, Director and Martin Friedman Senior Curator of Mad. Sq. Art at the Madison Square Park Conservancy, New York; Clare Lilley, Program Director at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield; Catherine Millet, Paris-based writer, critic, and founder of art press magazine; Fumio Nanjo, Director of the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; and Jeremy Strick, Director of the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas.



Jaume Plensa (b.1955, Barcelona, Spain) is one of the world's foremost sculptors with international exhibitions and over thirty public projects spanning the globe in such cities as Chicago, Dubai, London, Liverpool, Montreal, Nice, San Diego, Tokyo, Toronto, and Vancouver.

Plensa’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at museums worldwide, including: the Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona (1980, 1996); Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume, Paris (1997); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (2000); The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead (2002); Institut Valencià d’Art Modern, Valencia (2007); The Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids (2008); Musée Picasso, Antibes (2010); Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas (2010); Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield  (2011); Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Helsinki (2012); Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art, Nashville (2015); Max Ernst Museum Brühl des LVR, Brühl (2016); and the Musée d’art moderne et contemporain, Saint-Étienne Métropole (2017).

Plensa will be the subject of solo exhibitions at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid and the Museu d’Art Contemporani in Barcelona in the fall of 2018. 

His extensive practice in sculpture, installation, and drawing has earned him numerous awards and distinctions. Honors include: instatement as a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture in 1993; the National Award for Plastic Arts by the National Culture Awards of the Government of Catalonia in 1997; an honorary doctorate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2005; and the Velázquez Prize for Plastic Arts in 2013. Select public installations include: Crown Fountain (Chicago, 2004); Echo (Seattle, 2014); Wonderland (Calgary, 2013); Breathing (London, 2008); Roots (Tokyo, 2014); and Source (Montreal, 2017). Forthcoming projects Pacific Soul (San Diego) and Dreaming (Toronto) will be installed in the fall of 2017.

Plensa lives and works in Barcelona.

These two exhibitions mark Jaume Plensa’s ninth and tenth solo exhibitions with Richard Gray Gallery. Plensa has been represented by Richard Gray Gallery since 1996. 

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