Jaume Plensa: Behind the Walls 

Behind the Walls

Artist: Jaume Plensa

Jaume Plensa, Behind the Walls, 2018, Polyester resin and marble dust, 750 x 278 x 310 cm. Museum purchase made possible by J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family. 2020/2.1. Photography by Jeri Hollister and Patrick Young, Michigan Imaging


In this towering sculpture, Spanish artist Jaume Plensa presents a teenage girl shielding her eyes with her hands. The protective gesture evokes different interpretations: is she blocking the world from her view, and thus urging us to recognize our individual responsibility to see what’s around us? Or could she be reminding us of our interior landscape of thoughts and dreams?

Previously installed at Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, the work is part of a series in which the artist monumentalizes the likenesses of young women in public spaces, calling attention to who is and isn’t represented in large-scale public art. For Plensa, immortalizing a young girl on the precipice of her adult life captures the popular saying that, without doubt, the future is female. 

Gallery Guide - Behind the Walls

Learn more about artist Jaume Plensa's life, work, and inspirations for his sculptural practice in this downloadable Gallery Guide. Print version also available for free at UMMA.

Download Guide

Sometimes, our hands are the biggest walls. They can cover our eyes, and we can blind ourselves to so much of what’s happening around us.

Jaume Plensa

Installation Timelapse

Watch as two days of installation work for Behind The Walls takes places over the course of just 44 seconds

Photo Gallery


Behind the Walls is a Museum purchase made possible by the J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family

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