Extended through November 30, 2019
The bifurcations of the trees that appear so intimately human to us . . . The bifurcations of the fingers, by their movement through space, form the branches, the roots, and by the succession of actions in the same points, construct the branches and trunk of the plant. The woodland landscape is the action of sculpture.
Gagosian is pleased to present an exhibition of sculptures and drawings by Giuseppe Penone, his first in San Francisco.
Penone uses objects from the natural world to document the intertwined relationship between humans and nature in evolution over a macroscopic, geological timeline. He was a proponent of the radical Arte Povera movement, beginning in Italy in the 1960s, which used “poor” and unconventional materials such as soil or plant matter to evoke a preindustrial age and subtly critique systems of industrialization, mechanization, and art. Penone’s earliest works included site-specific sculptures situated in the woods around his Piedmont hometown—the start of a decades-long fascination with the arboreal that is still prevalent in his work today.
This exhibition will feature a selection of works in bronze, stone, and marble illustrating Penone’s ability to seamlessly transpose human-made and naturally occurring patterns. In Respirare l’ombra – foglie di tè (To Breathe the Shadow – Leaves of Tea) (2008), a branch-like pair of bronze lungs emerges from a metal-gridded wall of tea leaves, creating a direct link between plant respiration and the inhalation and exhalation of human breath. Freestanding sculptures such as the cast bronze foliage of Pensieri di foglie (Thoughts of Leaves) (2014–17) compare traces made by the artist’s hand to the weathering and degenerative marks made on plants and minerals as they are left to the elements.
In a group of works on paper from 2015–16 in watercolor, coffee, and pencil, Penone further explores the points of simultaneous connection and separation posited in the organic geometries of Pensieri di foglie. The wall-hung marble slabs of Corpo di pietra – rami (Body of Stone – Branches) (2016), in which bronze twigs extend from veined white stone, suggest the slow outgrowth of one element from the other. Penone positions time as a transformative agent, using poetic, indexical mark making to minutely track involuntary processes such as respiration, growth, and aging. He blurs the distinction between human, botanical, and mineral life, giving form to their coexistence.
In conjunction with this exhibition, Gagosian is partnering with the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy to present an outdoor installation of sculptures by Penone. These works, comprising two large-scale cast bronze trees, will be displayed from October 24, 2019, to March 28, 2021, on the Great Meadow of Fort Mason, a historic site within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
Giuseppe Penone at Fort Mason
An outdoor installation by Giuseppe Penone in San Francisco’s historic Fort Mason features two life-size bronze sculptures cast from fallen trees. The project continues the artist’s long investigation of the perpetual give-and-take between humans and nature. In this video, Penone discusses what drew him to this landscape and the concepts behind the installation.
Giuseppe Penone: Foglie di bronzo / Leaves of Bronze
Gagosian director Pepi Marchetti Franchi speaks about Giuseppe Penone’s recent exhibition in San Francisco, detailing the various works and their relationships to the artist’s long-standing sculptural practice.
Augurs of Spring
As spring approaches in the Northern Hemisphere, Sydney Stutterheim reflects on the iconography and symbolism of the season in art both past and present.
Giuseppe Penone: By the Bay
Elizabeth Mangini writes on Giuseppe Penone’s installation of two sculptures at San Francisco’s Fort Mason.
Gagosian Quarterly Spring 2020
The Spring 2020 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Cindy Sherman’s Untitled #412 (2003) on its cover.
Rain of Light
One year after the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Jean Nouvel and Giuseppe Penone sat down with Alain Fleischer, Pepi Marchetti Franchi, and Hala Wardé to reflect on how the museum and Penone’s commissioned artworks for the space came to be.
Giuseppe Penone at Fort Mason
October 24, 2019–March 28, 2021
Fort Mason, San Francisco
Gagosian presents an outdoor installation by Giuseppe Penone in San Francisco’s historic Fort Mason. Two sculptures by Penone—La logica del vegetale (The Logic of the Vegetal) (2012) and Idee di pietra (Ideas of Stone) (2004)—will be installed in Fort Mason’s Great Meadow, part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, overlooking San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. This project is presented in partnership with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area through the Art in the Parks program. To attend the opening reception on Thursday, October 24, from 5 to 6:30pm, RSVP to email@example.com.
Giuseppe Penone, Idee di pietra (Ideas of Stone), 2004, installation view, Fort Mason, San Francisco, 2019–21 © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris. Photo: Matthew Millman
Giuseppe Penone at Fort Mason
Thursday, October 24, 2019, 5–6:30pm
Great Meadow, Fort Mason, San Francisco
As the sun sets over the San Francisco Bay, join us to celebrate the opening of a public installation of two large-scale bronze sculptures by Giuseppe Penone in San Francisco’s historic Fort Mason. The evening will include brief remarks by Gagosian’s Charlie Spalding with a drinks reception to follow. To attend the free event, RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Giuseppe Penone, Idee di pietra (Ideas of Stone), 2004, installation view, Fort Mason, San Francisco, 2019–21 © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris. Photo: Archivio Penone
Foglie di bronzo / Leaves of Bronze
Saturday, September 14, 2019, 3pm
Gagosian, San Francisco
Join Gagosian for a tour of Giuseppe Penone’s first solo exhibition in San Francisco. Penone uses objects from the natural world to document the intertwined relationship between humans and nature. Gagosian’s Graham Dalik will provide an overview of the artist’s career, from his early works as a major figure of the Arte Povera movement in the 1960s to the present day, and offer an in-depth look at a selection of the sculptures on view in the show. To attend the free event, RSVP to email@example.com.
Giuseppe Penone, Pensieri di foglie (Thoughts of Leaves), 2014 (detail) © 2019 Giuseppe Penone/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris. Photo: Archivio Penone