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Giuseppe Penone

Giuseppe Penone, Progretto per il giardino di pietra (Project for the Stone Garden), 1968 China ink on paper, 11 ⅞ × 15 ¾ inches (30 × 40 cm)© Archivio Penone

Giuseppe Penone, Progretto per il giardino di pietra (Project for the Stone Garden), 1968

China ink on paper, 11 ⅞ × 15 ¾ inches (30 × 40 cm)
© Archivio Penone

Giuseppe Penone, La foresta imprime le impronte del crescere (The Forest Engraves the Imprints of Growth), 1969 China ink on paper, 13 ¾ × 19 ¾ inches (35 × 50 cm)© Archivio Penone

Giuseppe Penone, La foresta imprime le impronte del crescere (The Forest Engraves the Imprints of Growth), 1969

China ink on paper, 13 ¾ × 19 ¾ inches (35 × 50 cm)
© Archivio Penone

Giuseppe Penone, Rovesciare i propri occhi (Reversing One’s Eyes), 1970 Mirroring contact lenses, sequence of 6 slides© Archivio Penone

Giuseppe Penone, Rovesciare i propri occhi (Reversing One’s Eyes), 1970

Mirroring contact lenses, sequence of 6 slides
© Archivio Penone

Giuseppe Penone, Svolgere la propria pelle – 11 giugno 1970 (To Unroll One’s Skin – 11 June 1970), 1970 Gelatin silver prints with selenium tone on baryte paper and typographic ink on paper, 13 ¼ × 32 ⅝ inches (33.5 × 82.8 cm)© Archivio Penone

Giuseppe Penone, Svolgere la propria pelle – 11 giugno 1970 (To Unroll One’s Skin – 11 June 1970), 1970

Gelatin silver prints with selenium tone on baryte paper and typographic ink on paper, 13 ¼ × 32 ⅝ inches (33.5 × 82.8 cm)
© Archivio Penone

Giuseppe Penone, Soffio (Breath), 1978 Terra-cotta, 28 ⅜ × 18 ⅞ × 15 ¾ inches (72 × 48 × 40 cm)© Archivio Penone

Giuseppe Penone, Soffio (Breath), 1978

Terra-cotta, 28 ⅜ × 18 ⅞ × 15 ¾ inches (72 × 48 × 40 cm)
© Archivio Penone

Giuseppe Penone, Essere fiume 7 (To Be a River), 2000 River stone and quarry stone of white Carrara marble, in 2 parts, each: 18 ⅞ × 29 ½ × 24 ⅞ inches (48 × 75 × 63 cm), installed at Whitechapel Gallery, London, September 4, 2012–October 27, 2013© Archivio Penone

Giuseppe Penone, Essere fiume 7 (To Be a River), 2000

River stone and quarry stone of white Carrara marble, in 2 parts, each: 18 ⅞ × 29 ½ × 24 ⅞ inches (48 × 75 × 63 cm), installed at Whitechapel Gallery, London, September 4, 2012–October 27, 2013
© Archivio Penone

Giuseppe Penone, Ombra di terra (Earth Shadow), 2000 Bronze and terra-cotta, 111 ½ × 63 ¾ × 33 ⅞ inches (283 × 162 × 86 cm)© Archivio Penone

Giuseppe Penone, Ombra di terra (Earth Shadow), 2000

Bronze and terra-cotta, 111 ½ × 63 ¾ × 33 ⅞ inches (283 × 162 × 86 cm)
© Archivio Penone

Giuseppe Penone, Alpi Marittime – Continuerà a crescere tranne che in quel punto (Maritime Alps – It Will Continue to Grow except at That Point), 1968–2003 Tree (Ailanthus altissima) and bronze, hand: 15 ¾ × 4 × 5 ⅛ inches (40 × 10 × 13 cm), tree: 275 ⅝ × 11 ⅞ × 11 ⅞ inches (700 × 30 × 30 cm) approx., San Raffaele Cimena, Italy, 2008© Archivio Penone

Giuseppe Penone, Alpi Marittime – Continuerà a crescere tranne che in quel punto (Maritime Alps – It Will Continue to Grow except at That Point), 1968–2003

Tree (Ailanthus altissima) and bronze, hand: 15 ¾ × 4 × 5 ⅛ inches (40 × 10 × 13 cm), tree: 275 ⅝ × 11 ⅞ × 11 ⅞ inches (700 × 30 × 30 cm) approx., San Raffaele Cimena, Italy, 2008
© Archivio Penone

Giuseppe Penone, Pelle di marmo e spine d’acacia – Livia (Skin of Marble and Acacia Thorns – Livia), 2006 Pink marble, canvas, silk, and acacia thorns, 39 ⅜ × 139 ¾ × 2 ⅜ inches (100 × 355 × 6 cm)© Archivio Penone. Photo: Mike Bruce

Giuseppe Penone, Pelle di marmo e spine d’acacia – Livia (Skin of Marble and Acacia Thorns – Livia), 2006

Pink marble, canvas, silk, and acacia thorns, 39 ⅜ × 139 ¾ × 2 ⅜ inches (100 × 355 × 6 cm)
© Archivio Penone. Photo: Mike Bruce

Giuseppe Penone, Pelle di marmo e spine d’acacia – Livia (Skin of Marble and Acacia Thorns – Livia), 2006 (detail) Pink marble, canvas, silk, and acacia thorns, 39 ⅜ × 139 ¾ × 2 ⅜ inches (100 × 355 × 6 cm)© Archivio Penone. Photo: Mike Bruce

Giuseppe Penone, Pelle di marmo e spine d’acacia – Livia (Skin of Marble and Acacia Thorns – Livia), 2006 (detail)

Pink marble, canvas, silk, and acacia thorns, 39 ⅜ × 139 ¾ × 2 ⅜ inches (100 × 355 × 6 cm)
© Archivio Penone. Photo: Mike Bruce

Giuseppe Penone, Idee di pietra (Ideas of Stone), 2003–07 Bronze and river stone, 326 ¾ × 98 ½ × 86 ⅝ inches (830 × 250 × 220 cm), permanent installation at Reggia di Venaria Reale, Turin© Archivio Penone

Giuseppe Penone, Idee di pietra (Ideas of Stone), 2003–07

Bronze and river stone, 326 ¾ × 98 ½ × 86 ⅝ inches (830 × 250 × 220 cm), permanent installation at Reggia di Venaria Reale, Turin
© Archivio Penone

Giuseppe Penone, Disegno d’acqua (Water Drawing), 2003–07 Black granite, green marble, blue granite, water, and timed air flux, 23 ⅝ inches × 88 feet 7 inches × 113 feet 2 ¼ inches (60 cm × 27 m × 34.5 m), permanent installation at Reggia di Venaria Reale, Turin© Archivio Penone

Giuseppe Penone, Disegno d’acqua (Water Drawing), 2003–07

Black granite, green marble, blue granite, water, and timed air flux, 23 ⅝ inches × 88 feet 7 inches × 113 feet 2 ¼ inches (60 cm × 27 m × 34.5 m), permanent installation at Reggia di Venaria Reale, Turin
© Archivio Penone

Giuseppe Penone, Spazio di luce (Space of Light), 2008 Bonze and gold, 98 ½ × 787 ⅜ × 70 ⅞ inches (250 × 2,000 × 180 cm)© Archivio Penone

Giuseppe Penone, Spazio di luce (Space of Light), 2008

Bonze and gold, 98 ½ × 787 ⅜ × 70 ⅞ inches (250 × 2,000 × 180 cm)
© Archivio Penone

Giuseppe Penone, Idee di pietra (Ideas of Stone), 2008 Pencil and ink on paper, 18 ⅞ × 13 inches (48 × 33 cm)© Archivio Penone

Giuseppe Penone, Idee di pietra (Ideas of Stone), 2008

Pencil and ink on paper, 18 ⅞ × 13 inches (48 × 33 cm)
© Archivio Penone

Giuseppe Penone, Idee di pietra – Olmo (Ideas of Stone – Elm Tree), 2008 Bronze and stone, 342 ½ × 106 ⅜ × 67 inches (8.7 × 2.7 × 1.7 m), installed in Gstaad, Switzerland, December 13, 2017–March 30, 2018© Archivio Penone. Photo: Marcus Veith

Giuseppe Penone, Idee di pietra – Olmo (Ideas of Stone – Elm Tree), 2008

Bronze and stone, 342 ½ × 106 ⅜ × 67 inches (8.7 × 2.7 × 1.7 m), installed in Gstaad, Switzerland, December 13, 2017–March 30, 2018
© Archivio Penone. Photo: Marcus Veith

Giuseppe Penone, Anatomia (Anatomy), 2011 White Carrara marble, 124 × 77 × 62 inches (315 × 195.6 × 157.5 cm)© Archivio Penone. Photo: Benjamin Lee Ritchie Handler

Giuseppe Penone, Anatomia (Anatomy), 2011

White Carrara marble, 124 × 77 × 62 inches (315 × 195.6 × 157.5 cm)
© Archivio Penone. Photo: Benjamin Lee Ritchie Handler

Giuseppe Penone Triplice (Triple), 2011 Bronze and river stones, 29 feet 6 ⅜ inches × 22 feet 11 ⅝ inches × 13 feet 1 ½ inches (9 × 7 × 4 m), installed at Château de Versailles, France, June 11–October 30, 2013© Archivio Penone. Photo: Tadzio

Giuseppe Penone Triplice (Triple), 2011

Bronze and river stones, 29 feet 6 ⅜ inches × 22 feet 11 ⅝ inches × 13 feet 1 ½ inches (9 × 7 × 4 m), installed at Château de Versailles, France, June 11–October 30, 2013
© Archivio Penone. Photo: Tadzio

Giuseppe Penone, Sigillo (Seal), 2012 White Carrara marble, overall: 64 feet 11 ½ inches × 13 feet 5 ½ inches × 19 ¾ inches (19.8 m × 4.1 m × 50 cm), installed at Château de Versailles, France, June 11–October 30, 2013© Archivio Penone

Giuseppe Penone, Sigillo (Seal), 2012

White Carrara marble, overall: 64 feet 11 ½ inches × 13 feet 5 ½ inches × 19 ¾ inches (19.8 m × 4.1 m × 50 cm), installed at Château de Versailles, France, June 11–October 30, 2013
© Archivio Penone

Giuseppe Penone, Albero Porta – Cedro (Door Tree – Cedar), 2012 Cedar, 124 ⅜ × 41 ⅜ × 41 ⅜ inches (316 × 105 × 105 cm)© Archivio Penone. Photo: Ruggero Penone

Giuseppe Penone, Albero Porta – Cedro (Door Tree – Cedar), 2012

Cedar, 124 ⅜ × 41 ⅜ × 41 ⅜ inches (316 × 105 × 105 cm)
© Archivio Penone. Photo: Ruggero Penone

Installation view, Giuseppe Penone in het Rijksmuseum, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, June 10–October 2, 2016 © Archivio Penone

Installation view, Giuseppe Penone in het Rijksmuseum, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, June 10–October 2, 2016

© Archivio Penone

Giuseppe Penone, Equivalenze, 2016 Bronze, 113 ¾ × 93 ⅜ × 67 inches (289 × 237 × 170 cm)© Archivio Penone. Photo: Matteo D’Eletto, M3 Studio

Giuseppe Penone, Equivalenze, 2016

Bronze, 113 ¾ × 93 ⅜ × 67 inches (289 × 237 × 170 cm)
© Archivio Penone. Photo: Matteo D’Eletto, M3 Studio

About

The veins of water that pour from the earth flow in trickles that merge, like the branches in the trunk, like the fingers in the palm of a hand, like the bronze in the matrix of a tree.
—Giuseppe Penone

Throughout his fifty-year career, Giuseppe Penone has employed a wide range of materials and forms in an exploration of the fundamental language of sculpture. A protagonist of Arte Povera, Penone explores respiration, growth, and aging—among other involuntary processes—to create an expansive body of work including sculpture, performance, works on paper, and photography.

Penone’s early performance-based works evolved in direct response to the forests near his native village of Garessio, Italy, where he interacted with trees, water, and marble. In the Alpi Marittime (Maritime Alps) works (1968), his gestures and interventions left physical traces over extended periods of time: tree trunks were distorted by copper wire, stones, and bronze casts of the artist’s hand; mechanisms made of ropes and deer hides reacted to the weather; and casts of Penone’s face, hands, and feet were immersed in a stream bed.

In 1969 Penone created the first of his Alberi (Trees): “stripped” trees made by carving into mature timbers and removing the wood along the outer growth rings to reveal the memory of a sapling at the core of the trunk. This ongoing series has taken on various permutations as Penone refines his techniques and experiments with different sizes and installations. In 1970 he even carved an Albero in the presence of an audience, merging sculpture and performance. This same year he made the Rovesciare i propri occhi (Reversing One’s Eyes) works, in which he wore custom-made mirrored contact lenses and had himself photographed. The lenses, though they deprived the artist of his own gaze, allowed him to objectively record images, literally reflecting his surroundings.

During this period Penone also began to explore different ways of documenting his work, as well as his body’s interactions with sculpture. In the Svolgere la propria pelle (To Unroll One’s Skin) series (1970–71), he captured the intricate patterns of rock and bark, skin and hair, through frottage (taking rubbings on sheets of paper), imprints (pressing his body into surfaces), and photography. Then, with the Soffi (Breath) works (1977–), Penone attempted to translate into sculpture the ephemeral phenomenon of breath. He took photographs of light powder that he had blown into the air and translated the cloud-like forms into bronze sculptures, drawings, and vase-like constructions.

Essere fiume (To be a River, 1981) marked an important turning point in Penone’s practice. Extracting chunks of stone or marble from the source of a river, he carved them so that they resembled the smaller, smoother stones at the bottom of the riverbed, mimicking the effects of water on the rocks’ shape and size. Then, returning to an investigation of the figure, Penone began the Gesti vegetali (Vegital Gestures) works (1982–), hollow anthropomorphic sculptures whose forms were based on single gestures or movements.

In the 1990s Penone worked on the Anatomie (Anatomies, 1992–), which included Carrara marble and other stones carved in high relief to echo vascular and muscular systems, as well as the Propagazioni (Propagations, 1995), a series of drawings based on the concentric linear patterns of a fingerprint. Since then he has continued to expand upon many of his earlier series and to work on the Idee di pietra (Ideas of Stone) sculptures (2003–), in which he juxtaposes rocks and trees to highlight the balance between verticality and horizontality and the interplay of gravity and growth. Penone has also designed two gardens, one in Turin and one in the Reggia di Venaria in Piedmont.

In Penone’s work, sculptural transformations draw the viewer’s attention to details that have long existed but are easily overlooked. By bringing the grandeur—as well as the modesty and intimacy—of raw but also cultural material into various settings, Penone raises questions about sculpture and its essence.

Giuseppe Penone

Photo: Manuel Lagos Cid/Paris Match Archive/Getty Images

From the Quarterly

Fairs, Events & Announcements

Giuseppe Penone, Rovesciare i propri occhi (Reversing One’s Eyes), 1970 © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris. Photo: Paolo Mussat Sartor

In Conversation

Giuseppe Penone
Carlos Basualdo

Friday, November 9, 2018, 6pm
Philadelphia Museum of Art
www.philamuseum.org

Giuseppe Penone will discuss his life’s work and celebrate the publication of his new monograph, The Inner Life of Forms, with the book’s editor Carlos Basualdo, senior curator of contemporary art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The event is free with museum admission. Space is limited and will be granted on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Giuseppe Penone, Rovesciare i propri occhi (Reversing One’s Eyes), 1970 © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris. Photo: Paolo Mussat Sartor

Book Signing

Giuseppe Penone
The Inner Life of Forms

Saturday, November 10, 2018, 2:30pm
Gagosian Shop, New York
gagosianshop.com

Giuseppe Penone will sign copies of his newly released monograph, The Inner Life of Forms, published by Gagosian, which examines the artist’s more-than-forty-year career. To attend this free event, RSVP to penonemonograph@gagosian.com.

Giuseppe Penone working on Cedro di Versailles (Ceder of Versailles) (2000–03) in Turin, 2000. Artwork © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris. Photo: © Archivio Penone

In Conversation

Giuseppe Penone
Carlos Basualdo

Saturday, November 10, 2018, 5:30pm
The Greene Space, New York
www.thegreenespace.org

Giuseppe Penone will discuss his new monograph, The Inner Life of Forms, with the book’s editor Carlos Basualdo, senior curator of contemporary art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, at the Greene Space, New York. Following a reception at 5:30pm, the talk—hosted by art critic Deborah Solomon—will begin promptly at 6:30pm. To attend this free event, RSVP to penonequarterlytalk@gagosian.com.

Preceding the talk, Penone will sign copies of the monograph at the Gagosian Shop, New York, beginning at 2:30pm.

Giuseppe Penone working on Cedro di Versailles (Ceder of Versailles) (2000–03) in Turin, 2000. Artwork © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris. Photo: © Archivio Penone

See all News for Giuseppe Penone

Museum Exhibitions

Giuseppe Penone, Respirare l’ombra (To Breath the Shadow), 1999 (detail), Fondazione per l’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea CRT © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris. Installation view at Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino. Photo: Paolo Pellion

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Arte Povera
A Creative Revolution

May 17–August 16, 2018
State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia
www.hermitagemuseum.org

Arte Povera emerged in the second half of the 1960s with a generation of Italian artists who challenged traditional painting and sculpture by embracing simple materials and techniques. The exhibition includes works by prominent members of the movement, as well as art that proceeded Arte Povera. Work by Lucio Fontana and Giuseppe Penone is included.

Giuseppe Penone, Respirare l’ombra (To Breath the Shadow), 1999 (detail), Fondazione per l’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea CRT © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris. Installation view at Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino. Photo: Paolo Pellion

Installation view, Giuseppe Penone: Des corps de pierre, Château La Coste, Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade, France, September 9–November 26, 2017

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Giuseppe Penone
Des corps de pierre

September 9–November 26, 2017
Château La Coste, Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade, France
chateau-la-coste.com

A selection of works by Giuseppe Penone have been installed in the newly constructed art pavilion at Château La Coste, designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano. Large-scale bronze and marble works and works on paper are presented both inside and outside the gallery to create a dialogue between art, architecture, and nature.

Installation view, Giuseppe Penone: Des corps de pierre, Château La Coste, Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade, France, September 9–November 26, 2017

Photo by Matteo Piazza

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Giuseppe Penone
Matrice

January 27–July 30, 2017
Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, Rome
www.fendi.com

Curated by Massimiliano Gioni, this unique display of works by Giuseppe Penone is on view in Rome’s grand Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana. The exhibition is Fendi’s first public presentation of contemporary art at the venue.

Photo by Matteo Piazza