Giuseppe Penone is an Italian artist and a member of the Arte Povera group who is interested in forming a connection between man and nature. In fact, his work mostly relies on the fact that ultimately, the two are inseparable. Formally, his work relies on the play between gestures and the imprint, the play of light and shadow, and textures and surfaces.
Ever interested in incorporating unusual materials into his works, which are also usually created untraditionally, Penone largely focuses on the boundaries between art and nature and the interdependence among all organic life forms. For an installation at the Tate he carved out wood to reveal its past, allowing the tree to return to a form it had in an earlier stage of growth. In other instances, Penone will cast tree forms in bronze, choosing the medium because its chroma and characteristics liken themselves to those of the bark of a tree. For another project Penone discovered an ancient vase with its maker’s fingerprints still intact. He transferred images from one surface to another to create a series of bronze vessels that mingled his own fingerprints with those from the past.
Most recently Penone’s work can been seen at Versailles. The installation demonstrates Penone’s dedication to wood, stone, marble, bronze and other materials the artist feels have an essence. “What interests me,” says Penone, “is when the work of man starts to become nature.”