For many people in Valencia, la Plantà is even more exciting than Christmas. Unwrapping a few presents under the tree vs. unwrapping thousands of works of art across the city? No contest! La Plantà is when the massive figures which make up the Fallas monuments are removed from their cellophane wrapping and put together like giant puzzles… and public can see for the first time what they’re all about.
La Plantà starts on March 15th (or a little earlier for the biggest pieces), and by the 16th, the figures have to be fully finished, ready for the jury of the Junta Central Fallera. Once they arrive, that’s it! No more applying final touches; it’s time to lay the paint brush down and allow judgement to be passed upon an entire year’s worth of work. The next day, the winning commissions head over the Plaza del Ayuntamiento to pick up their prizes, in a celebratory parade.
During our first few Fallas, we would avoid trying to see the figures before they’d been finished… but lately, we’ve enjoyed taking walks to check out the progress. Seeing all the components of the figures wrapped in see-through foil really sparks the imagination, making you wonder how a specific item — this arm or that trumpet — will be used in the monument. During this time, it’s common to see trucks transporting huge parts of the Fallas figures from the Ciutat Fallera to their destinations.
For Fallas 2020, we were obsessing about the figure by Valencia’s famous street artist Escif. From the first moment we saw the sketches of his proposed piece, which was commissioned by the city of Valencia, we were huge fans, and couldn’t wait to see it be built. So we made an effort to walk by the Plaza del Ayuntamiento almost every evening to keep an eye on the progress and to document the Plantà of this art piece which, although short-lived, was sure to be iconic.
But then came CoVID-19. Coming up soon: an article about the first ever Desplantà in the history of Fallas.