In his art, Jaume Plensa makes frequent references to the poetry of Vicent Andrés Estellés. Back in 2017, Plensa created an art book that visually interprets poems by the Valencian writer. Recently, Plensa referred to yet another poem, this time as motto for an exhibition at the Senda art gallery.
It seems that poetry is, to Jaume Plensa, more than an inspiration source. “Poetry penetrates society in a humble yet constant manner, and transforms it constantly even if the society is unaware of that” he said in an interview for El Periodico.
“The poet that best represented my way of being”
Vicent Andrés Estellés (1924-1993) wrote the twenty one poems of the book entitled L’hotel París in 1956. They were finally published in 1973 and, some ten years later, Jaume Plensa, by then living in Berlin, read the book. Fascinated by the power of the verse, the artists immediately started to draw and paint the very book he had in his hands, giving the first shape of what would turn out to be, in 2017, an exquisite art book with an intricate copper case which encloses the poems as well as five illustrations and six copper transparencies.
“The beginning and the end are the same thing” Estellés writes. “It was a discovery, Plensa says. There were twenty one very short and simple poems, but at the same time very intense and sensual, about sex, love, death and solitude”, poems which made Plensa see “an extraordinary poet, one of the best in explaining the relationship between us people and life.”
The long night
Plensa recently exhibited, at Galeria Senda, an exhibition with the motto from another poem of Estellés, Propietats de la pena: “No t’han parit per a dormir: et pariren per a vetllar en la llarga nit del teu poble” – you weren’t born to sleep, you were born to watch the long night of your village. The delicate drawings on paper and large-sized sculptures of the exhibition explore the delicate balance between silence and words, idea and shape, light and darkness.
Explore the exhibition in 3d at this link.
I’ve always thought that the work of Jaume Plensa is, in itself, poetical. Still, with this extra layer of the verses of Estellés, it gains even more depth. After all, “we don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for” – to quote my favourite line from the Dead poets society.