WWL is probably better known to many people for its handling of rolling cargo, especially vehicles, but it won this job because of its wide experience in handling fragile cargoes.
Spanish artist Manolo Valdés creates big art—really eye-catching art. An ongoing exhibition of his work at the Botanical Gardens in New York City is called Manolo Valdés Monumental Sculpture.
The centerpiece of the exhibition, Alhambra, is a bronze and steel sculpture of a woman surrounded by butterflies and is 50 feet (15 meters) wide; other pieces in the exhibition measure 17 feet (5 meters) high and weigh up to 20 tonnes.
Valdés’ studio is in Manhattan, not far from the Botanical Gardens. The works, however, were cast in a foundry in Madrid. To get them safely across the Atlantic, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL) was called in.
“This was the second time the artist entrusted his art to WWL, because of the professionalism they are able to provide in handling this type of artwork,” says Dora Homs of EVGE, the company that has been WWL’s agent in Spain for more than 25 years.
The sculptures required special handling—the pieces are big, but also delicate, with massive main sculptured heads surrounded by flights of metal butterflies. And, after all, it is art—a scratch or a dent is not something you can simply repair with a dab of paint.
“WWL is probably better known to many people for its handling of rolling cargo, especially vehicles, but it won this job because of its wide experience in handling fragile cargoes,” Homs says. “The company has the roll trailers needed to carry the works, but also the flexibility to be able to handle unique cargo, and to build a good relationship with Mr. Valdés’s agents.”
The sculptures were loaded onto mafi trailers and rolled onto WWL vessels in the ports of Santander and Barcelona in Spain.
“In all seven heads and headdresses were loaded,” Homs explains. “Normally we would load only in Santander, but because of the characteristics of some of the pieces, we chose to also load in Barcelona, where a vessel with a high ramp was available.”
The pieces were first shipped to Bremerhaven, Germany, where they were transshipped before sailing to New York.
All the sculptures arrived safely and in good condition in New York, ready for the exhibition, which began in September 2012 and will run until May 2013. But this isn’t the last time that WWL will be asked to take care of Valdés’ colossal sculptures.
“By the end of this year, Mr. Valdés will have another exhibition in Miami, and once again WWL will be carrying the sculptures from Spain to Brunswick, Georgia, Homs says.”
Manolo Valdés (also known was Manuel Valdés or Manuel Valdés Blasco)
Manolo Valdés is a Spanish sculptor and artist of international fame. He was born in Valencia in 1942 and began his studies in 1957 at the San Carlos School of Fine Arts. Influenced by classical artists, Valdés creates large works in which the lighting and colours highlight texture. His work is described as forceful and is often decorated with historical art symbols. Since 1981 he has increasingly concentrated on sculpture, using predominantly wood as his main material. In 1989, he moved to New York with his family and, during these years, his work gradually began to feature objects from everyday life.