‘Love’ consists of two 7-metre high, white sculptures of a boy and a girl. They appear to look at each other, but their eyes are closed. The facial expression of the children is serene. Around them hangs a 2-metre-high cloud of mist we can wander around in. ‘They are dreaming’, says Plensa; ‘for children, the future is a dream full of promise.’ The Spanish artist got his inspiration for the fountain of mist when he saw the mist above the Frisian fields early in the morning. ‘In Friesland’, he says, ‘the water comes out of the ground.’
synthetic resin with marble dust
7 m high, 3 m circumference
Source of inspiration: the youth in the city and the mist over the fields
Location: the renovated area around the train station
Address: 8911 AE Leeuwarden
Jaume Plensa (1955) is an internationally celebrated artist best known for his monumental sculptures of the human face, predominantly female. Their appearance is almost meditative. A highlight is the Crown Fountain in Chicago’s Millennium Park, which displays the faces of hundreds of residents. The fountain ‘Love’, designed by Plensa for the redeveloped area near Leeuwarden’s train station, adds great atmosphere to the entrance of the city and invites people to take pause and relax.
Plensa’s highly acclaimed exhibition at the Basilica di San Giorgio Maggiore during the Venice Biennale in 2105 beautifully expressed the atmosphere of contemplation and stillness. Plensa has received many awards, including the Medal of Chevalier des Arts et Lettres, the Velázquez Prize for the Arts in 2013 and in 2017 The Ten-Year Award to the Crown Fountain for Excellence in Architecture. His sculptures can be found in public spaces and museums all over the world, but have almost never been on display in the Netherlands.
Leeuwarden can rightly be called a hidden gem, although the city has become quite well-known since it was voted European Capital of Culture.
The city has a historic centre with beautiful alleys and streets, lovely shops, excellent restaurants, stunning graffiti art in surprising places and enough activities to keep you entertained for days on end.
Almost immediately after its unveiling in 2018, the residents of Leeuwarden embraced the Love fountain. When an unknown "joker" later applied graffiti to the pure white artwork, it received heavy criticism on social media and in submitted letters.
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