Jaume Plensa

B.OPEN Installation

13 July - 18 August 2002

Spanish artist Jaume Plensa lives and works in Paris and Barcelona. In 1996, Year of Visual Arts, he was commissioned to make Blake in Gateshead, an impressive light beam that reaches 2 kilometres into the sky. This artwork became a permanent fixture in 2002 when BALTIC opened. It is lit to celebrate special exhibition openings and events.

For BALTIC’s opening exhibition, B.OPEN (13 July - 18 August 2002), Jaume Plensa created an impressive installation comprising nine complimentary pairs of bronze gongs with mallets, accompanied by nine corresponding drawings, hung on opposite walls of the space. The ‘Gongs’ invited the viewer to ‘imagine silence’. Plensa is fascinated by the idea that there is never a moment when everything is silent; even our breathing makes some sound. The temple-like serenity and silence of the gallery space was emphasised whenever a gong was sounded.

The subdued lighting also added to the atmosphere of ‘silence’. The face of each gong was lit so that their shadows formed dense circles on the floor. As the gongs were struck the whole room resonated.

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