Didem Doğan

The Invisibles, Jaume Plensa at Madrid’s Crystal Palace

The Crystal Palace inside the Retiro Park has been hosting contemporary art works as a co-space to Reina Sofia Modern Art Museum. Previous exhibitions such as Colombian artist Doris Salcedo’s Palimpsesto used the ground to write the names of refugees who lost their lives in the Mediterranean or the Vietnamese artist Danh Vo’s ‘Banish the Faceless/Reward your Grace’ work that showed a figure of Jesus with fossils hang from the ceiling; this elegant glass building has been the space for contemporary art works of the most significant artists of our time. The Catalan sculpture Jaume Plensa’s exhibition ‘The Invisibles’, 16 November 2018- 03 March 2019, is as interesting as the name itself. Three heads are both present and absent inside the space; as you enter you notice them however you really have to make an effort to truly recognise them. They are three head sculptures of three women (we assume they are women) with eyes closed, their forefinger on their mouths. The colour of the material is similar to the colour of the material of the space. They are both visible and invisible. The name ‘Invisibles’ may refer to all three of them, in fact each has a name: Laura, Anna, Rui Rui. They make a triangle at the centre of the space. Jaume Plans says ‘I never thought it would be more difficult to make something invisible than making something visible.’ The winner of Velazquez award for the arts in 2013 Plensa is a renowned artist in the international arena. His big scale sculptures and works can be seen from Singapore to Chicago, from Miami to Japan or Barcelona’s Modern Art museum, Madrid’s Colon square. Heads always with eyes closed, bodies who are sat in calm, silent and peaceful; throughout his career he has drawn on spirituality, memory, language. These invisible heads remind us people who are absent in our lives, physically, but who are still alive in our memories, ones who are lost or with whom our conversation has not stopped; or fictive characters in novels or movies who are sometimes more real than real characters, or different selves inside us- Plensa’s work makes us connect with something deeper in our lives, such as in ‘The Invisibles’.

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