“Giuseppe Penone is one of the greatest sculptors working today. His work is entirely focused on Nature, a deep and unique source of inspiration for this immense artist who is particularly fascinated by trees – the mystery and power of which he perceives, highlights and recreates better than anyone. He loves their branches, leaves and thorns, and carefully studies coppices, thickets and clusters. It is as if he serenades the beauty of trees through his work. As a tireless observer of forests, he perceives and reproduces the messages, buried strengths and energies etched in the wood that are invisible to the naked eye.” Chantal Colleu-Dumond
The themes he tackles mainly have a bearing on people and nature, but also on time, as the transformation of elements and the movement, prints and beauty of forms. His showpieces are also characterised by the use of such material as wood, marble, plant resin or bronze.
“A tree is a fluid material which can be shaped. The main vector is time: which is not experienced in the same way by us as by a tree; in theory, if we were to grasp hold of a tree and to remain still enough not to move for years on end, the continual pressure exerted by our hand would change the tree.” Giuseppe Penone
After exhibiting a spectacular sculpture, Idea di Pietra, and a lasting garden called Arbre-chemin (Tree Pathway) designed in a copse in Chaumont-sur-Loire in 2012, Penone has dreamt up a new bronze artwork which will tie in with this poetic maze already created in the Historic Grounds.
Giuseppe Penone au Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire, 2012 - © Éric Sander
Giuseppe Penone was born on 3 April 1947 in Garessio, Italy, into a family of farmers and merchants. He taught at the National Fine Arts School in Paris from 1997 to 2012. He now splits his time living and working in France and Italy.
In the late 1960s, he joined the Land Art and Arte Povera movements which advocated an anti-establishment, anti-modern way of thinking. Like other artists involved in the Arte Povera movement, he was one of the emblematic figures of Italian art in the 1960s. His work can be found in the most prestigious contemporary art collections in France and abroad (for example the Centre Pompidou, Musée d’Art moderne de Saint-Étienne and MoMA).
In 2004, his work was showcased in a major retrospective at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and then in the gardens of Château de Versailles in the summer of 2013, where his project “Penone Versailles” proved hugely popular. From November 2014 to February 2015, he presented a sweeping monographic exhibition at the museum of Grenoble.
Giuseppe Penone is represented by the Marian Goodman Gallery.