Love Jaume Plensa

Leeuwarden
Jaume Plensa had already been approached to participate in 11Fountains back in the bid book stage. In August 2014 he paid his first visit to Leeuwarden, when he met the mayor, several city councillors and the director of Urban Development. The upshot of this meeting was to invite the artist to think along on plans to undertake a complete renovation of the area in front of the railway station, where the fountain he had yet to design would be given a prominent place.
New cultural heritage
in eleven Dutch cities
New cultural heritage
in eleven Dutch cities

By involving Plensa in the developmental phase of this urban makeover, the busy and previously cluttered area will be transformed into an open, well-organised gateway to the city, with Plensa’s fountain ‘Love’ as the unavoidable eye-catcher. The fountain consists of two white heads of a boy and a girl, each seven metres tall, which rest on a black oval platform. Their faces are turned towards each other but their eyes are closed. Both facial expressions are serene, almost meditative. ‘They’re dreaming,’ says Plensa. ‘For children, the future is a dream full of promises.’ Plensa got his inspiration for the fog fountain when he saw the morning mist suspended above the Frisian fields. ‘In Friesland,’ he said, ‘the water comes out of the ground.’ This explains the two-metre cloud of mist encircling the children’s heads, where visitors are free to wander. The area around the fountain is an invitation to take a peaceful break and enjoy the city’s flower beds and ancient trees before walking into the beautiful city of Leeuwarden. Initially the idea was to invite a boy and girl from Leeuwarden to pose for the faces, but that was abandoned. Now the artist has chosen two children from Catalonia. Their names are not known. To create the clouds of mist and to prevent legionnaires’ disease, the city is working closely with the Centre of Expertise Water Technology in Leeuwarden.

Jaume Plensa (Spain, 1955) lives and works in Barcelona. Plensa has made quite a name for himself worldwide with his monumental figurative sculptures, particularly of women’s heads. These stone heads, which are often several metres high, always have their eyes closed and are almost meditative in appearance. They occupy public spaces and museums in Europe, Asia, South America, Canada and the US. One magnificent example is a large, white, silent woman’s head rising up out of the sea at Rio de Janeiro. An absolute high point in his extensive oeuvre is the Crown Fountain in Chicago’s Millennium Park, a project that took many years and involved hundreds of the city’s residents. The fountain is now a city icon. In 2015, his exhibition in the basilica of San Giorgio Maggiore during the Venice Biennale met with wide acclaim. Plensa has received many awards, including the Médaille de Chevalier des Arts et Lettres and the prestigious Velázquez Prize for the Arts in 2013.

Fountains