Public Art Tour: Jaume Plensa’s Alchemist

By Mary Tinti

August 9, 2012

Watch Mary's video about Jaume Plensa’s Alchemist (2010)

BOSTON — MIT is home to a world-class public art collection and the addition of Jaume Plensa’s Alchemist (2010) goes a long way towards keeping that impressive distinction very much intact. Commissioned and subsequently gifted by an anonymous graduate, Alchemist honors the Institute’s 150th anniversary, the generosity of its alumni, and—by extension—the students who have researched, studied, and problem-solved at MIT.

Based in Barcelona, Jaume Plensa is known the world over for creating artworks that expose aspects of the human figure in fascinating ways. His sculptures (which range in both size and medium) are at once tranquil, meditative, and in tune with both physical and cognitive realms.
With Alchemist, Plensa offers up a tribute to an inquisitive, brilliant, beautiful mind, one that blurs the boundaries between the inner body and the outside world. Viewers will recognize the basic outline of a seated male, traced in a stainless steel skin shaped from numerous numerical symbols and equations—the building blocks of mathematics, science, and engineering. Viewers may enter the piece, and thus surround themselves with abstractions of the innovative ideas, calculated experiments, and ingenious solutions that are the lifeblood of MIT.   
WGBHArts readers may enjoy knowing that Plensa is the artist behind Chicago’s acclaimed Crown Fountain in Millennium Park. More locally, an exquisite example of his marble sculpture can be found on the grounds of the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. And, perhaps most exciting of all, Jaume Plensa will be giving a free lecture on the evening of Friday, October 12, 2012 at MassArt, so mark your calendars and prepare to be inspired!
>>See Plensa listing on MIT Public Art Page.
About the Author
Mary Tinti Mary Tinti
Mary is a Koch Curatorial Fellow at the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. On her blog, Dress For Sports, she says, "I love innovative public art, creative design, and unique intersections of architecture, sculpture, and installation.  And I love stumbling upon cool collisions of art and everyday life." Mary has a Ph.D. in art history from Rutgers University.


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