G.Penone at work on the Hidden Life Within

Giuseppe Penone, an Italian artist born in Garessio (1947). After becoming one of the “Arte Povera” pionners, he has made his art a means of awareness about living in connection with the environment. The Penone’s work is based on simple elements and it is above all, a sculptural practice. The use of materials such as leaves, stones, water, bronze and wood, have provided him the opportunity to achieve a new expressive examination and to manifest the homogeneity between nature and human beings.


G.Penone, Albero di Alianto, 2003

The trees – as “Albero di Alianto”, 2003 – represent one of the favorite topoi of his philosophical reflection. In the Penone’s artworks there are acts of violence and empathy on the natural material. The inserts, like a bronze hand, compel the tree to grow in the sense given by the will of the artist. In this perspective, the work of Penone is a procedure: a human action in contact with the vegetal action.  The tree becomes aware of the existence of a body that is near and with which it has to cohabit.

In other words the meaning of the Penone’s sculptures is to introduce a form with space. Thus, sculptural forms are created by simple things and actions like breathing and touching. Is the case of “Soffio di foglie” (1979) where the body weight “sculpts” its track on the same matter.


G.Penone, Soffio di Foglie, 1979

During his long career, often Penone has predicted the use of bronze such as in “Idee di Pietra” (2004).

This monumental sculpture represents a leafless tree whose twigs have been cut off and whose branches seem to have got entangled with a granite boulder.

According to the philosophy of Penone It is not so much the man who seeks the immensity of nature but rather the natural world that penetrates inside the things.

The mutual exchange of breath, looks, memory, footprints and time articulate the symbiotic existence of both.

G. Penone, Idee di Pietra, 2004-2010

G. Penone, Idee di Pietra, 2004-2010

Behind this inclination toward a universal metamorphosis, transits a strong message: The duty of a peaceful and harmonic cohabitation in the World.