Jaume Plensa: Spain

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Jaume Plensa was born in Spain in 1955, and shares his residence between Paris and Barcelona. Between his first exhibition in his hometown in 1980 and today, he has been living and working in Germany, Belgium, England, France and the US. Also, teaching at the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where we celebrated recently his artwork for Ruinart. Today, he shares with us his favorite spots in Spain, his home country.

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Your favourite city?
BARCELONA. It is my city where I found home, a place where I could develop my work. It has the perfect size, it is not too big and not to small. It is right in front of the sea which is important for me.

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Your favourite hotel?
VILLA REAL in MADRID. I feel at home. I could never separate a place from the people and I love the ones that are working there. They have taken me as a friend. I always stay there when I am in Madrid. It is a very charming place right in front of the congress.
Plaza de las Cortes, 10, 28014 Madrid, Phone: +34 914 20 37 67

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Your favourite restaurant?
There is a beautiful restaurant in BARCELONA near my studio that has become like my office where I meet my friends, LA PART DELS ANGELS. The name stands for this little quantity in the wine that evaporates in the barrel, it is the angel’s share. For me, it is such a beautfiul name as I am always working with invisible emotions.
Passeig Bertrand, 27, 08980 Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Barcelona, Phone: +34 936 66 66 44

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Your favourite sightseeing spot?
I love the little city of SITGES, little town nearby Barcelona, right in front of the sea. It is the perfect place to spend the afternoon, very picturesque.

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Your favourite museum?
The MUSEO DEL PRADO in MADRID because they have something fantastic collection, they have art works from Velázquez, Goya and Hieronymus Bosch, which belong for me to the most important artists of all times.
Paseo del Prado, s/n, 28014 Madrid

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Your favourite piece of art?
LAS MENINAS, a 1656 painting in the Museo del Prado in MADRID, by Diego Velázquez, the leading artist of the Spanish Golden Age. It is the first time in history that somebody had the capacity to paint space, just the emptiness. It is a remarkable piece of art.

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Your favourite shop?
L’ILLA DIAGONAL – it is a small commercial center where you can find a little bit of everything.
Avinguda Diagonal, 557, 08029 Barcelona, Phone:+34 934 44 00 00

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Your must-have accessory?
When you come to Spain, the best you can bring is an OPEN MIND and to be completely free of prejudices. We are very welcoming, we love to share. It is a great place for conversation.

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The best soundtrack for this destination?
FLAMENCO, it is important for my country, a very emotional way to express especially in the South of Spain.

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The best book to read while being on vacation there?
DON QUIJOTE by Miguel Cervantes Saavedra. Last year was the Cervantes year as we celebrated 400 years since he died in 1616. It is a key book for Spain, a concept of our history, Cervantes is equivalent to Shakespeare.

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Thank you, Jaume Plensa, for sharing your insider scoop on Spain with us!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of the Locations, © Sandra Bauknecht

Ruinart Jaume Plensa Launch Event in Paris

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Two weeks ago, I flew to Paris to attend the exclusive launch event of Ruinart’s new artist for 2017: Jaume Plensa, the renowned Spanish artist who is known for his monumental sculptures in steel, glass, marble, polyester resin, concrete and bronze.

He is recognized for his silhouettes of human bodies seated or kneeling who seem to scrutinize the horizon in a meditative manner, like the contemporary thinkers. His sculptures, which play with the relationship between words, signs and the human body, have today become his signature. They are recognisable amongst all the works of art throughout the world and have turned Jaume Plensa into one of the most important players of the contemporary artistic scene.

Jaume_Plensa_Artwork_RuinartPlensa’s amazing art work for Ruinart

Each year, Ruinart invites an artist to create a special artwork for the oldest Champagne house of the world. With Plensa, Ruinart has chosen an artist who has been able to express language, but more importantly the alphabets, the cultures of the world, their spiritualities, their transmissions and the visionary and erudite spirit of dom Thierry Ruinart, a key personality in the history of Ruinart at the confluence of philosophy and the art, merging the heritage with the future.

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The event took place at the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris where Plensa also gives lectures. First we had the possibility to explore historic documents while enjoying my favourite champagne, Ruinart‘s Blanc de Blancs. Later, we were asked to move into the next room where the stunning installation by Jaume Plensa was revealed in his presence that will later tour the world.

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The sculpture takes up the shape of characters that he has already created, but there is never any repetition in his work. Every piece is unique. Every letter, assembled by hand, creates a second skin for the form, which is always reborn in a different manner. In the base of the sculpture he has engraved two dates: 1729 and 2016. They are like a secret code, an encrypted message, linking the history between the foundation of Maison Ruinart and the creation of the work of art.

Jaume_Plensa_Sandra_Bauknecht_RuinartWith artist Jaume Plensa at the event in Paris

The next morning, I had the chance to interview Jaume Plensa who is a very witty, charming and interesting gentleman. I loved his answers, the most significant quotes are in bold. Enjoy!

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What are the basics of creating for you? With what do you start?

That is a very interesting question as this is something I am asking myself every day in the studio. I guess the main subject in my work is that I try to create something that people could touch and be touched by. I work a lot in public spaces. Mainly my work is based to identify yourself in the myth of others. We have to break borders and the walls we have been permanently creating throughout history. When I am working with alphabets or portraits of people from different cultures, it is interesting to recognize that we are all so similar. It is just the little things that differ.

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You use a lot of letters in your work. Do you have a favorite letter or alphabet?

You cannot compare one alphabet with another. When you see Hebrew for example which is very rigid and you compare it with Chinese, that seems to be fireworks. Hindi is so beautiful always with a line on top which makes it so rich to look at.

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How long was the process to create for Ruinart and did you have immediately something in mind when you were approached?

In general the way I work is that an idea is born with the shape, the material and the specific scale. Obviously depending if it is for a show, a gallery or for a public space, my attitude can be changing.

It took me around 6 months to create the piece that had been revealed last night. I never understood art as a direction. My obsession was to grow up as a person, art was just the consequence of my life. I have never been interested in being in artist, but I enjoy it very much to express my emotions with visual art. The main material is life.

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When I listen to you, I don’t get the impression that you will ever loose inspiration. Do you ever feel pressure to not being inspired?

Not at all. Creation is a way to breathe. I love when I am flying and the flight attendant is saying «If the pressure is low, please pull the oxygen mask, press it firmly on your mouth and breathe normally.» There are many moments when life asks us to breathe normally, I think it is something we must honor, it takes a little while but the most beautiful experience is when you understand that you are breathing normally.

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Do you ever get frustrated when you are creating because something is not working out the way you have planned it?

Of course. My assistants are happy when I am not there. I have a lot of temperament. Creation is a dialogue with you and yourself. You could be your best friend, but also your worst enemy. That is one of the most beautiful experiences in creation when you must understand yourself, when you must accept yourself and this gives always a lot of frictions.

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The best about Jaume Plensa?

I have the privilege to be an artist, so I have the capacity and ability to observe the world. That is an amazing situation.

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Only 20 bottles of the special edition signed by Jaume Plensa will be available worldwide for €3500 worldwide.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Ruinart, © Sandra Bauknecht

My Look: Lace, Bows and Pearls

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Last Tuesday I flew to Paris with Ruinart for a special event that I will tell you more about this week. Being in the French capital with its sophistication, style and allure, I felt like wearing lace, bows and pearls, one of my favourite combinations.

My look: Feather cape with contrasting bow and lace lining and pussy-bow velvet-trimmed lace dress, both by Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini, lace-up leather pumps by Saint Laurent, large classic flap bag in caviar leather and smiley emoji black pearl crystal long necklace, both by ChanelAgnes felt hat with net veil by Gucci.

LoL, Sandra

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Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht