Giuseppe Penone

12 Sep - 30 Oct 2008 Golden Square

One of the most celebrated artists of his generation, Giuseppe Penone is perhaps the leading member of the Arte Povera movement which started in Italy in the late 1960s.

Penone’s practice examines the materiality of the world through sculpture, continuously reflecting the similarities between nature and human beings – revealing the secret universe of hidden images within seemingly inert materials.


Scultura di linfa (2006) relates directly to the artist’s distinctive Albero series of sculptures. In these works wooden beams were pared down until the form of the tree from which they were cut emerged. In the present sculpture the tree contained in the beam is excavated from the wood leaving behind its negative impression which is filled with highly scented tree resin.


The process of creation by subtraction of matter is also present in two marble sculptures Pelle di marmo (2001) and Pelle di marmo su spine d’acacia – Lucrezia (2003). Here the artist uses the veins within blocks of Carrara marble revealing the deep natural and cultural affinities between flesh and marble, the veins of the body and those of material – sculpture ancient and contemporary. The idea of encasement is explored further in Lo spazio della scultura, corteccia (2004). In this work bronze and leather are conjoined with the bark of a two hundred year old Cedar, both concealing and mimicking the tree’s natural structure.

Installation Views