Jaume Plensa - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Afternoon Session New York Wednesday, May 15, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Galerie Lelong & Co., Paris
    Haunch of Venison, London
    Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2012

  • Catalogue Essay

    Internationally renowned Spanish artist Jaume Plensa is celebrated for his large-scale, text-based sculptures in stainless steel, which, despite their striking originality, share much thematically with classical sculpture in their concern with aesthetic beauty and earnest expression of the human soul. Towering over seven feet tall, ENDLESS IV is a remarkable example of Plensa’s ability to weave symbols together in a compelling alphabetical chainmail that probes ideas of collective memory and the duality between the concrete and the intangible. The present work depicts a seated figure with arms clasped around his body, his evocative pose alluding to Auguste Rodin’s seminal The Thinker, circa 1910. Like Rodin’s sculpture, the figure in ENDLESS IV seems lost in thought, yet his muscles are coiled and tensed as if ready to spring into motion, embodying both dream and action.

    While Plensa’s first text-based sculptures were often calibrated in recognizable fragments of texts, in recent years his works have become increasingly abstract as Plensa draws together characters from diverse lexicons to suggest the rich multiculturalism of society. The present work fuses symbols from myriad alphabets, providing visual dimension and texture through the disparate shapes formed in the fragments of each language. As Plensa explains, “I’ve always been fascinated by words and poetry. I remember one day I decided to use, as a material, all this information that I collected in childhood…I understood the text as a beautiful metaphor about community, about society. One letter alone is nothing, but together with other letters you get a word. A word with a word becomes a text, and so on. A person alone is nothing, but together with others we become family, a neighborhood, a city, a county, a country” (Jaume Plensa, quoted in Ginny Van Alyea, “An Interview with Artist Jaume Plensa”, Chicago Gallery News, November 8, 2017, online).



stainless steel
88 1/4 x 98 3/8 x 98 3/8 in. (224 x 250 x 250 cm.)
Executed in 2012.

$250,000 - 350,000 

Sold for $450,000

Contact Specialist
Rebekah Bowling
Head of Day Sale, Afternoon Session
New York
+ 1 212 940 1250

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Afternoon Session

New York Auction 15 May | On View at 450 Park Avenue