Inspiring places and spaces: unveiling Wonderland

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Jaume Plensa's Wonderland is now in place in front of THE BOW, Encana's head office in Calgary.

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The completion of Wonderland officially lands Calgary on the list of cities around the world fortunate enough to boast a sculpture by world-renowned Spanish artist Jaume Plensa.

The 12-metre-tall bent-wire portrait of a young girl's head is the key feature of the plaza area located at the foot of THE BOW, Encana's Calgary head office. The artwork was commissioned after a selection jury made up of local and international representatives from the art community chose Mr. Plensa to design a significant visual legacy for the space.

"I am honoured to create this beautiful artwork for THE BOW and for Calgary," Jaume Plensa says. "My vision for Wonderland is to inspire everyone who experiences the sculpture. I believe the architecture of our bodies is the palace for our dreams."

The seven-member jury embarked on a search for an established artist whose work meets the highest conceptual, aesthetic and technical standards. Forty artists were invited to submit applications and the respondents were screened further for a demonstrated understanding of architecture, public spaces and their ability to add vibrancy to those spaces. Most importantly, the jury wanted an artist whose work could engage a broad audience.

Wonderland Facts

  • Mr. Plensa provided the Calgary-based fabricator with a digital model of Wonderland which was used to create templates for bending and rolling the steel bars that make up the sculpture
  • approximately 4,633 linear metres of 22mm and 18mm steel bars were used in the sculpture
  • 324 smaller patches were precisely fabricated into 30 large patches that were assembled on site
  • approximately 12,000 intersections are connected with saddle welds in Wonderland
  • approximately 2,100 butt joint welds where two or more rods intersect on the same plane create the sweeping geometry of the piece

Plensa's approach to public art has brought him significant recognition throughout the world. One of his most well-known works of public art is the Crown Fountain in Chicago's Millennium Park. He also unveiled Echo in New York City's Madison Square Park in May 2011. Plensa has had solo exhibitions at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, at the Musée Picasso in Antibes and at the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid, among many others. Recently, he was the subject of a major solo exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Breton, United Kingdom.

For more information about Jaume Plensa, visit jaumeplensa.com.

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