Under the generic title of Crouching Man a series of works by the Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa (1955 –), one of the most successful artists today with works spread all over the world such as the Crown Fountain of Chicago in the United States or the luminous figures of the Place Massena of the French city of Nice.
Squatting Man by Jaume Plensa
These Crouching Men figures are also scattered around the world, from Hong Kong to Tel Aviv, Praga or Zaragoza, where the largest of them all is located, 12 meters high and en titled Alma del Ebro. A figure that has sometimes been created in pairs, and that even has a traveling version called Nomade and which is periodically exhibited in different places around the globe.
Actually, as in so many other works ofcontemporary artit is an idea that the artist is constantly turning over, without this meaning that he repeats the construction site. Something that Plensa has been accused of, when the truth is that we are dealing with a profoundly creative mind that works in many ways. Not only as a sculptor, but also as a draftsman, engraver and set designer.
In this way, these“squat men” are like a family. They are men of different sizes, small, on a human scale or monumental; sometimes with legs, sometimes without them; sitting or suspended; but it is always about empty bodies whose shape is given by large white letters that form a mesh that leaves a hollow interior, which is even accessible by the viewer, thus inviting him to an inner reflection.
Everything has its meaning and symbolism, and those letters would become the cells of the body. Some letters that are capable of forming words, words texts, texts with other texts end up being culture. In other words, it presents us with a discourse of the smallest (the cell) to reach the general. Like the most organic, the cell, life and culture are generated.
Nomade by Jaume Plensa
Another interpretation is about the need for union. That is, a single letter does nothing, but together they create ideas. As it happens with people and the community.
The fact is that on many occasions this type of work by Plensa, whose resource of letters he also uses to shape large portraits, has been described as a way of materializing poetry.