A new 12-foot-tall sculpture is being planted on the grassy edge of the Toledo Museum of Art's campus at Monroe Street and Collingwood Boulevard.
The 2010 piece consists of two hollow figures, rounded and seated on the ground with knees to chests, and was created by art-world superstar Jaume Plensa, a Spaniard whose art can be found in public places from Calgary to Dubai.
Called Spiegel, it is constructed of white-painted steel latticework consisting of individual letters from eight different international alphabets welded together. The random letters, symbolizing cells in the body, suggest that the two identical figures are sharing an exchange.
Spiegel means glass or mirror in German, and was most recently exhibited at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in England. It's the gift of an anonymous donor.
Many of Plensa's sculptures are huge figures and heads. For Chicago's Millennium Park, he designed the popular Crown Fountain, a black-granite reflecting pool between two glass-brick towers that display videos of faces and during warm months, spew water in which people can frolic.
"The sculpture [Spiegel] 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 Brian Kennedy, museum director. "Both figures are constructed from alphabetic symbols, which evoke our ‘Teaching Visual Literacy' objective and even the work's title, which means glass, creates a material and spatial dialogue with our Glass Pavilion across the street."
Spiegel will be lit from within, and installation on a concrete foundation is scheduled for Thursday.
Plensa has been invited to Toledo for a formal dedication of the piece next spring and a lecture. To see more of his work, go to jaumeplensa.com.
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