In an oeuvre spanning more than fifty years, Penone has continually expanded the parameters of art through a close examination of the interplay between the human body and nature. Since the beginning of his career in the late 1960s, as a proponent of the Arte Povera movement, he has employed and juxtaposed materials both ancient and modern, “raw” and manufactured—including bronze, leather, wood, stone, and acacia thorns. The exhibition’s title comes from a series of new sculptures in bronze and marble that evoke the growth of plant life out of stone, as though from earth.
Penone’s early work is marked by an elemental simplicity. Investigating primary materials in his immediate surroundings, he often staged interventions in the forests around his Piedmont hometown. Arte Povera, distinguished by the use of “poor” and unconventional materials such as plant and vegetable matter, questioned cultural assumptions through the evocation of a preindustrial age. In critiquing the dehumanizing effects of mechanization, the movement countered other art genres, both earlier and contemporaneous, such as Surrealism, Pop, and Minimalism.
Penone frequently incorporates his own body and gestures into his work: the photographs Libro /polvere trappola / mano (Book / Dust Trap / Hand) and Guanti (Gloves) (both 1972)—the earliest in the exhibition—show the artist’s hand. The motif recurs in more recent works such as Rotazione (Rotation, 2020), which depicts a hand in the act of making multiple imprints. In later works, the artist alludes to his bodily form less directly; in wall-mounted marble slabs such as Pelle di marmo–oro (Skin of Marble – Gold, 2006), veinlike networks blur the divide between animal and mineral, and emphasizing the transformative natural processes of birth and growth, death and decay.
Open at the National Gallery of Australia, Project 1: Sarah Lucas brings together recent work by one of England’s most influential and unapologetic artists.
9 March—17 April 2021
Marian Goodman Gallery New York is very pleased to announce an exhibition by Giuseppe Penone. The exhibition will feature a series of canvas works titled Leaves of Grass which are being shown for the first time, alongside individual sculptures and drawings made concurrently.
11 July—10 October 2021
Against the backdrop of the natural, geological features of UCCA Dune, Daniel Arsham: Sands of Time stages recent sculptures and related drawings that expand upon his fascination with history, relics of the past, and idea of a “fictional archeology.”