Jaume Plensa in Bordeaux (part 1 of 2)

Hi everyone,

As I told you earlier this week, I had a special post to write: it is about a fantastic art exhibition that we have the honor to host in Bordeaux this summer (from June 27 to Oct. 6, 2013): Jaume Plensa, the Catalan artist, whom you may know as the artist behind the Crown Fountain in the Millenium Park in Chicago (among many other famous art installations around the world), is doing us the honor of exhibiting 11 works of art throughout the city. I was only able to photograph 10 of them and will present you 5 of these today and the other 5, in a few days. Going out and taking pictures being part of my self-care plan for August, this was the perfect occasion.

Jaume Plensa chose key sites around the city to install his art. We'll start with The Poets on the right river bank:

"The poet is not allowed to sleep… He must be awake in the long night of his people, keeping watch over his people," Vincent Andrés Estellés. 

Body Soul is hiding his ears, Country his eyes, and Water Fire, his mouth. They each "turn off" one of their senses to better turn inward. They are placed on pillars and are overlooking our river, the Garonne, and facing the left bank of the city (one of the hotspots of Bordeaux). They are in a meditative pose (a recurrent theme in Plensa's work) and are silent witnesses to the city. They supposed to be lit at night, but I haven't had the honor of seeing that (yet). 

Next, we'll move on to The Heart of Trees which is installed in the Jardin Public and which shows several male figures sitting on a mound of earth with a tree wrapped around their feet and arms:

The names of famous artists are tattooed on them thus creating a complete circle between nature, mankind, and beyond, creation-wise.  

Self-Portrait (Place Camille Jullian) goes deeper in this question of language and man with this installation:

Here, we have a sphere of symbols, signs in which the artist is sitting in a meditative pose. The artist is thus depicted as being at the center of a linguistic bubble that envelopes him:

"To recognise that the soul of man is unknowable, is the ultimate achievement of wisdom. The final mystery is oneself. When one has weighed the sun on the balance, and measured the steps of the moon, and mapped out the seven heavens star, there still remains oneself. Who can calculate the orbit of his own soul?" Oscar Wilde.

In another genre and material, we have Sanna (next to the Grand Théâtre):

It is one of the 2 female figures presented in Bordeaux. The other one is Paula (Place Pey Berland):

They can be appreciated from different angles and what is striking at first is their calm, meditative state. What is there to hear in this silence? The traits have been softened to only keep what is essential to the eye of the artist (and maybe to us): beauty and being, whatever your age and color.

I'll show you the other 5 installations that I could photograph. I hope you enjoy this exhibition as much as I did. This is truly the best art event that Bordeaux organized in a while. I highly appreciated its accessibility and its meditative/reflexive dimension.

Sabrina S.


  1. And extremely well curated by the blogger!

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