Giuseppe Penone, Foglie di pietra (Leaves of Stone), 2013, bronze and found stone, 116 1/8 × 59 1/16 × 66 15/16 inches (295 × 150 × 170 cm) © Giuseppe Penone
In an oeuvre spanning more than forty years, Giuseppe Penone has explored the subtle levels of interplay between man, nature, and art. His work represents a poetic expansion of Arte Povera’s radical break with conventional media, emphasizing the involuntary processes of respiration, growth, and aging that are common to both human being and tree. In the early 1970s, Penone continued to work with his own body by transcribing the textures of his skin and casting his face in plaster. Engaging with, and subtly intervening in nature so as to reimagine it in artificial terms, Penone finds ever new ways to mark the persistence of biological life, harmonizing elemental occurrences in terms of his own artistic drive. In each work, he reveals the innate sculptural qualities of natural materials, chiseling marble and casting from nature to expose the deep patterns of growth and time.
Giuseppe Penone was born in 1947 in Garessio, Italy and currently lives and works in Paris, France, and Turin, Italy. His work is featured in institutional collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate Modern, London; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; MOCA, Los Angeles; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, ON; Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Roma; National Museum of Modern Art Tokyo; Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels; MAXXI – Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI secolo, Rome; Inhotim Centro de Arte Contemporânea, Brumadinho, Minas Gerais, Brazil; Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris; Sammlung Reinking, Hamburg; Neues Museum Weimar, Germany; Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam; Berardo Museum, Lisbon; MAMbo – Galleria d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, Italy; and ARCO Collection, Madrid.
Recent solo exhibitions include “Retrospective Exhibition 1968–2004,” Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2004, traveled to CaixaForum, Barcelona); Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, Italy (2008); Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Japan (2009); Musée des Arts Contemporains du Grand–Hornu, Belgium (2010); “Drawings and Sculptures,” Fondation De Pont, Tilburg, Noord-Brabant,The Netherlands (2010); “The Hidden Life Within,” Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada (2011); Centre d'arts et de nature, Parc du Château, Domaine de Chaumont–sur–Loire, France (2012); “Entre les lignes,” Chapelle du Méjan, Arles, France (2013); “Penone Versailles,” Château de Versailles, France (2013); Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Switzerland (2013); “Ideas of Stone (Idee di Pietra),” Madison Square Park, New York (2013–14); “Breath Is A Sculpture,” Beirut Art Center, Lebanon (2014); “Prospettiva Vegetale,” Forte di Belvedere and Giardino di Boboli, Florence (2014); Musée Grenoble, Paris (2014); “Being the River, Repeating the Forest,” Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, TX (2015); “Regards croisés,” Musée Cantonal des Beaux–Arts, Lausanne, Switzerland (2016); Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (2016); “Sculpture,” Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto, Italy (2016); and “Giuseppe Penone – Anafora,” Reggia di Venaria Reale, Turin, Italy. Penone co–represented Italy in the 52nd Biennale di Venezia in 2007, and was awarded the Praemium Imperiale by the Japan Art Association in 2014.
A permanent sculptural installation, titled “Germination,” will be presented at the Louvre Abu Dhabi next year. “Matrice / Matrix,” a survey exhibition of Penone’s work organized and supported by FENDI and curated by Massimiliano Gioni, will be on view at the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana in Rome from January 27 to July 16, 2017.