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 October 25, 2020, on the Great Meadow of Fort Mason, a historic site within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
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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.
Visions of the Self: Jenny Saville on Rembrandt
Jenny Saville reveals the process behind her new self-portrait, painted in response to Rembrandt’s masterpiece Self-Portrait with Two Circles.
Gagosian Quarterly Talks
Giuseppe Penone and Carlos Basualdo
Giuseppe Penone discusses 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. Hosted by art critic Deborah Solomon.
Gagosian Quarterly Winter 2018
The Winter 2018 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available. Our cover this issue comes from High Times, a new body of work by Richard Prince.
Behind the Art
Ideas of Stone
In the small skiing village of Gstaad, among the towering mountains of the Swiss Alps, lies a surprising and ambitious exhibition of sculpture by Giuseppe Penone. Susan Ellicott tells the story of how this installation came to be.
Gagosian Quarterly Spring 2018
The Spring 2018 Gagosian Quarterly with a cover by Ed Ruscha is now available for order.
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
January 30–March 23, 2018
Idee di Pietra
December 13, 2017–March 30, 2018
Extended through June 15, 2017
January 27–June 15, 2017
Leaves of Stone / Foglie di pietra
January 21–March 12, 2016