WE (2021) is a new public artwork for London by internationally renowned artist, Jaume Plensa. The piece was commissioned by The Shard’s owners, and curated by Futurecity with an art advisory panel, to be experienced by those living, working and visiting Shard Quarter – home to The Shard, The News Building and Shard Place – opposite London Bridge station.
WE is the first sculptural installation in London created by Plensa that people can see and interact with in a public space. The piece is designed to give members of the public a chance to frame their individual perspectives, as they walk through Shard Quarter, taking in one figure, followed by the other. By establishing a link between the two, they will be inspired to consider the notion of self, alongside the people around them.
WE comprises two parts – one installed in The Shard’s piazza, one suspended above the escalator outside the building – facing each other as if in dialogue. The sculptural installation references the idea of a mirror – a recurrent theme in Jaume Plensa’s work. For the first time in his practice, the artist has anchored one figure to the ground with roots, reflecting its status as being rooted to the history and context of the London Bridge area. The other sculpture is suspended in the air, in an evocation of spirituality and the notion of rising above the daily challenges.
London is the home city of one of Plensa’s artistic inspirations, William Blake. For this particular work, a quote from Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell perfectly encapsulates his inspiration for the new piece; “one thought fills immensity”. A sentiment that is reflected in WE, a piece that fills the large public space with energy.