EL ALMA DEL EBRO, 2008
Site: ExpoZaragoza, Zaragoza (Spain)
Painted stainless steel
11 metre x 850 x 840 cm
There are inevitable contradictions in sculptural work; fatalities, it seems, of the genre: the impression of mass, the feeling of immobility, and the intrusion in space. An artist’s talent resides in transgressing these contradictions, in responding to the spirit of the place rather than imposing a pre-existing piece of work on it.
Plensa is obsessive with image in his works of art that represent the body. Even when the body is not explicitly represented, the mimetic dimensions of the work, the descriptive precision of his sculptures, evoke it. Words, have been a constant element of his work from the outset, and are conceived chiefly as an organic secretion. It seems that Plensa applies the formula described by Michel Leiris when explaining Tzara’s work: “We think through our mouths”. The first words that Plensa inscribed on his sculptures are a reply.
Europe is generally agreed to be the birthplace of western culture, including such legendary innovations as the democratic nation-state, football and tomato sauce.The word Europe comes from the Greek goddess Europa, who was kidnapped by Zeus and plunked down on the island of Crete. Europa gradually changed from referring to mainland Greece until it extended finally to include Norway and Russia.Don't be confused that Europe is called a continent without looking like an island, the way the other continents do. It's okay. The Ural mountains have steadily been there to divide Europe from Asia for the last 250 million years. Russia technically inhabits "Eurasia".Europe is presently uniting into one political and economic zone with a common currency called the Euro. The European Union originated in 1993 and is now composed of 27 member states. Its headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium.Do not confuse the EU with the Council of Europe, which has 47 member states and dates to 1949. These two bodies share the same flag, national anthem, and mission of integrating Europe. The headquarters of the Council are located in Strasbourg, France, and it is most famous for its European Court of Human Rights. In spite of these two bodies, there is still no single Constitution or set of laws applying to all the countries of Europe. Debate rages over the role of the EU in regards to national sovereignty. As of January 2009, the Lisbon Treaty is the closest thing to a European Constitution, yet it has not been approved by all the EU states. Text by Steve Smith.