Fri 7 Apr 2023 to Fri 23 Jun 2023
Artist: Jaume Plensa
GRAY presents Jaume Plensa: Forgotten Dreams, an exhibition of new sculpture by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa (b. 1955, Barcelona).
The exhibition is centered around the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) text. Drafted by representatives from all regions of the world and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, the UDHR is a milestone document in the history of human rights, proclaiming a common standard of fundamental political liberties to be universally protected for all people and all nations. Plensa describes the UDHR as “one of the most beautiful and emotional poems ever written. Its extraordinary poetic power interrogates us; each article like a hand knocking on the door to our hearts.”
At this moment, the principles outlined in the UDHR can feel like memories of a bygone era - forgotten dreams. The world is witnessing a tragic rise in autocratic and intolerant attitudes and regimes leading to a litany of human rights crises: provoking fratricidal wars and hunger, canceling women’s rights, fighting against religious and ethnic diversity, blocking immigrants flow, or denying climate change and deforestation.
Plensa wants us to consider the individual articles in the UDHR while confronting the poetry and beauty of the text itself. The central, monumental work in the exhibition is comprised of 21 cast aluminum doors inscribed with the UDHR text, with a second installation of 21 cast aluminum heads representing our collective humanity. Plensa’s sculptures illuminate human rights principles and invite us to open the doors toward tolerance and respect.