philly file · November 6 2019

A World Beyond Words: Jaume Plensa

Leave it to the folks at the Arthur Ross Gallery to create not just an exhibition but an entire world. Located in a Red brick building in the heart of the University of Pennsylvania campus, I arrived thinking I was there for a visit, not an experience.

Art Should be an echo, a feeling of your heart. A mirror, a container of memory.
-Jaume Plensa

With such a stunning photo of the exhibit on their socials, I had been scheming and planning my visit for months. It was tempting to not steal a peek through the pieced glass window before entering but I was able to resist. I audibly gasped as I turned the corner and saw the gallery transformed. The bright windows were diffused and the trained lights shone on metal and wood, creating an ether worldly environment.

Standing among Jaume Plensa’s collection Talking Planets transported me beyond the gallery and into that magical space that exists between elucidation and art. His desire to emphasize the possibilities of communication was brought into existence through sculpture and place lived and breathed in that room. Letters became greater than the words they create. Alive. My carefully placed footsteps echoed and reverberated, made different by Jaume’s musings and manifestations. Even those small movements which occur daily felt new there. Wondrous. When I filled my heart to the brim, I contentedly left this newfound world with a greater appreciation for words, letters, and the spaces in between.

Stroll between worlds yourself, now through the eighth of December.

Philed by Kim Iburg

Arthur Ross Gallery at the University of Pennsylvania
220 South 34th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104 US

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