Davidson College has expanded its collection of outdoor sculpture, with a stone and stainless steel piece called “Waves III” by the Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa. Workers installed the work Friday just north of the Chambers Building on a walkway near a row of residence halls.
The work is the fifth in Davidson’s growing campus sculpture program. Other pieces nearby include Antony Gormley’s figure “You,” and “Group of Ten,” by Magdalena Abakanowicz.
From a distance “Waves III” appears as a loosely defined figure, seated and holding its knees on the 7,000 pound rock where it rests. Up close, however, the shape is revealed to be created by hundreds of interconnected letters and symbols of varying size from many different languages.
Professor and art department chair Cort Savage, himself a sculptor, said “Waves III” represents Davidson’s academic emphasis on cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural study.
“The manner in which it’s constructed of letters and symbols from different languages lends it a cross-cultural sensibility,” he said. “The meditative figure juxtaposed with the dynamically moving letters and symbols parallels the sensibility of our `students. Even in a moment of repose, the figure is teeming with inquiries in constant motion. I find it ideally appropriate for Davidson’s liberal arts campus, which so highly values the life of the mind.”
“Waves III” is a gift from James G. Pepper, a 1965 Davidson graduate and longtime supporter of the college’s art program. Pepper has given money for the Pepper Visual Arts Scholarship, donated 32 pieces of art several years ago, and with his mother in 1993 presented the college with an original Rodin sculpture, “Jean D’aire,” which stands in the atrium of the Belk Visual Arts Center.
Professor Savage said Waves III is an important addition to Davidson’s outdoor sculpture collection: “It’s a step toward our goal of bringing a museum-quality, world-class collection of art to the doorstep and daily experience of all those who visit and inhabit Davidson’s campus. It not only beautifies the campus, but also evokes questions that apply pedagogically to multiple fields of study.”
Artist Jaume Plensa was born in Barcelona in 1955. He is known for his public sculpture, and his work has been exhibited in galleries and museums in Europe, the US, and Japan.
DEDICATION IN APRIL
The college will dedicate “Waves III” on Wednesday, April 17, at 4:30pm. The event is open to the public.
RELATED COVERAGE AND LINKS
March 20, 2012, “College sculpture garden grows by ‘Group of 10′”
July 20, 1997, “College builds at sculpture garden.”
DavidsonCollegeArtGalleries.org page on the sculpture garden