Jaume Plensa: Water’s Soul ~ a Permanent Installation in Newport Pier Park, NJ




Jaume Plensa: Water’s Soul, 2020. Image courtesy Richard Gray Gallery. In this image, the enormity of the sculpture is captured in the scale of the pedestrians in the Park.

While we generally stay within our five boroughs, a very noticeable sculpture caught our eye In Jersey City’s Newport Pier Park. It is the permanent installation, by Internationally-known artist Jaume Plensa, entitled Water’s Soul.

Gray Gallery announced the unveiling of the new 80-foot-tall sculpture, which overlooks the Hudson River. Water’s Soul depicts the serene face of a young subject holding a finger to her lips in a state of silent contemplation. The sculptural portrait, though monumental in scale, humbly gestures for quietude, a beckoning towards empathetic self-reflection. With great ethereal beauty, Plensa’s site-specific installation serves as a tribute to the Hudson River, aligning with the artist’s ongoing interest in bodies of water as proxies for humankind. “Water is a marvelous metaphor for humanity,” Plensa reflects. “One drop of water is quite alone, like a single person, but many drops together can create a tidal wave, and form immense rivers and oceans; When individuals come together to exchange ideas and create community, we can build something incredibly powerful.”

Water’s Soul nods to the historic Hudson River waterfront pier on which it is situated, a locale that bore witness to much of the trade coming in and out of New York City on ferries and rail barges during the 19th and early-20th centuries. Plensa’s site-specific sculpture acknowledges this past while expressing the collective hope for humanity to build a better world. “As climate change already threatens to take hold of our beautiful planet, we must join together to protect water as one of the most precious elements in nature. It is not owned by anyone but belongs to all of us. Water is the source of life, and Water’s Soul is a celebration of life.”

The LeFrak and Simon families, developers of Newport’s waterfront community, selected Plensa to create a work for this site, recognizing the artist’s ability to convey a message of hope for humanity’s future. “Over the course of three decades, Newport has blossomed into a vibrant, diverse community. We are proud to welcome Jaume Plensa’s breathtaking sculpture to this one-of-a-kind neighborhood as we continue to establish Newport within the growing art scene taking shape in Jersey City,” states Richard LeFrak, Chairman and CEO of the LeFrak Organization. “After a generation of incredible work, determination, and investment, this area has been truly transformed from what was once barren land into a vibrant, thriving community,” says David Simon, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Simon. “This magnificent Jaume Plensa sculpture is a phenomenal representation of the cultural sense of place that Newport embodies.”

“It is my wish for Water’s Soul to become an icon for Newport and a landmark that visually connects it with New York City across the Hudson River,” says Plensa. “Just as Water’s Soul acts to unite the city of Jersey City and New York City, we are reminded that water is the great public space that unites and embraces communities as well as people around the world.”

Jaume Plensa, Behind the Walls, 2019

Jaume Plensa (b.1955) was born in Barcelona, where he currently lives and works. Plensa is no stranger to this side of the Hudson River, with a permanent installation in Hudson Yards. You may also remember his stunning sculpture for Frieze New York, entitled ‘Behind the Walls’  in the Channel Gardens on Fifth Avenue in Rockefeller Center in 2019.

Currently, Plensa’s Field of Dreams is on view at Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill through November 30, 2021, and we look forward to an exhibition opening on October 29th at Galerie Delong in Chelsea.

A dedication on site in a ceremony for Jaume Plensa: Water’s Soul, 2020 will take place in Newport Pier Park, New Jersey on Thursday, October 21, 2021.

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