Jaume Plensa is an internationally known Spanish sculptor, born, educated, and working in Barcelona, who uses conventional sculptural materials (glass, steel, bronze, aluminum, cast iron, resin, and paraffin wax) and more unconventional media (water, light, sound, and video), and frequently incorporates text in his works. He has over 30 installations that cover the globe.
Cheekwood Botanical Gardens in Nashville, built by the Maxwell House Coffee fortune, had indoor displays and 9 large outdoor displays by Plensa in an installation called Human Landscape. The individual pieces of the display, like much of Plensa’s work, are about the human form.
My favorite piece in the Human Landscape installation is Awilda & Irma. It is the central piece of the installation, attracts the most attention, and Plensa considers it his most beautiful work.
Awilda & Irma, designed for Cheekwood in 2014, is an open, stainless steel, mesh, outdoor sculpture of two heads that allow light and the surrounding landscape to be part of the work. The sculpture appears to float in the middle of a Cheekwood pond in the Robinson Family Water Garden making water part of the experience. Each head is 13 feet tall and weighs 1,300 pounds.
During the day, you can see through the sculpture and it has a subtle presence. At night, lighting gives it a glow that dominates the landscape.