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Toledo Museum of Art acquires sculpture by noted Spanish artist Jaume Plensa
Jaume Plensa (Spain, born 1955), Spiegel, 2010. Painted stainless steel. Toledo Museum of Art. Partial gift by an anonymous donor and Museum purchase, 2012. Photos by Andrew Weber.

TOLEDO, OH.- The Toledo Museum of Art has acquired Spiegel, a monumental, two-part stainless steel sculpture by the acclaimed Spanish sculptor Jaume (juh-MAY) Plensa. Its acquisition was made possible by a generous local donor who wishes to remain anonymous.

Showcased last year in an exhibition of the artist’s work at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in West Bretton, Wakefield, UK, the work is being installed in the Georgia and David K. Welles Sculpture Garden which surrounds the Museum. Composed of two figures, each measuring just over 12 feet high and lit from within, the sculpture will be located in front of a small ridge near the intersection of Monroe Street and Collingwood Boulevard.

The word spiegel means mirror in German. Plensa’s Spiegel features two identical figures mirroring one another. Created in 2010, it is made of white-painted steel latticework consisting of individual letters welded together—making no legible sense—from eight different alphabets. The different international alphabets are used to define and visually unite the two seated individuals that are bound together in a silent exchange.

“The sculpture makes a beautiful introduction to the Museum’s campus because it shows two figures in apparent dialogue, much as we hope to bring visitors into dialogue with works of art,” said Museum Director Brian Kennedy. “Both figures are constructed from alphabetic symbols, which evokes our ‘Teaching Visual Literacy’ objective and even the work’s title creates a material and spatial dialogue with our Glass Pavilion across the street.”

Plensa was born in 1955 in Barcelona, Spain, and currently has residences in both Paris and Barcelona. His sculptures can be seen in public spaces world-wide, including Spain, France, Japan and Germany. In the United States, his most widely known sculpture is Crown Fountain at Millennium Park in Chicago.

His works regularly are shown in galleries and museums across Europe, the United States and Japan. His work was most recently seen in the 2012 International Contemporary Art Fair in Paris.

“Plensa’s sculptures inspire wonderment and great attachment as well as interaction among people of all ages. This work should prove no different,” said Amy Gilman, associate director and curator of contemporary art at the Museum. “Spiegel will attract notice and engagement. At night the two bodies are lit from within and will be visible even when the Museum is closed.”

The artist has been invited to visit Toledo for a formal dedication of the work and Masters Series lecture next spring.

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