Giuseppe Penone — Le corps d’un jardin


Drawing, sculpture, mixed media

Giuseppe Penone
Le corps d’un jardin

Past: May 25 → June 22, 2013

Vue perspective cr dit tadzio grid Giuseppe Penone Exposé au château de Versailles ainsi qu’à la galerie Marian Goodman, l’artiste italien Giuseppe Penone donne à voir un panorama de sa création aux ramages complexes. Retour sur les racines d’un art riche bien que décrété pauvre.

Our exhibition at the gallery Le corps d’un jardin presents works made from 1984. The show is curated by Laurent Busine, the director of the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Grand Hornu, and follows three principle themes: marriage, embrace and procession.

“There are multiple and varied forms which make us go beyond ourselves, project into the space around us invisible bundles (of glances, traces, smells), and encounter forms and words which confront the forms and the words proffered by the sculptor who constructed and installed them; it is they that make us marvel and arrest our gaze.”

Laurent Busine, Le corps d’un jardin, 2013

Each work has been selected as representing the most important themes of Penone’s work, including the play between gestures and the imprint, the play of light and shadow, of textures and surfaces.

Giuseppe Penone began to focus on the “negative space” of sculpture when he was a student at the Academy of Arts in Turin. Penone once observed a professor modeling a bust and was drawn to the imprints the hand left in the clay. Penone places a great importance in understanding organic materials and has developed over the years a strong connection with nature. The works in the exhibition embody the poetry of his practice.

In the first room Albero e gesto (1985-1991) and Gesto Vegetale (1984) combine two gestures; one organic and one sculptural. Gesto Vegetale evokes the figure of a human in bronze combined with a living element, a ficus, which is in constant transformation.

“Trees, when they move in space, change their shape. They remember the gesture they made. We could say that there is a resemblance between the gesture of the sculptor and the gesture of a tree frozen into bronze. This explains why I named the works this way.”

Giuseppe Penone, Entretien p. 276, in Catherine Grenier, Giuseppe Penone, 2004

Created both for natural environments with planted trees and for interiors with potted plants, the series Gesti Vegetali evokes the Ovidian myth of the metamorphosis of Daphne or the transformation of the human into natural plant forms.

In the main gallery on the first floor two large sculptures composed of several different parts produce effects of chiaroscuro. Tra… (2008) is in the form of a tree trunk split into two parts resting on branches. The gold leaf illuminates the inside of the split trunk and visually connects the two parts. As in the Arbre des voyelles in the Paris Jardin des Tuileries, Penone removed the vitality of the tree as if it were fossilized in bronze. Created using the technique of lost wax casting the bronze sculpture, after its oxidization, took the colour of a dead tree.

Ombra di terra (2000) is a materialisation of a shadow of a fingerprint. The terra cotta furrows born from the imprint, form a cone cut into three parts supported by branches in bronze.

In the gallery downstairs is a beautiful example of his thorn works in which Penone depicts magnified parts of the body. In Spine d’acaciapalmo (2004) shown here, the thorns form the palm of a hand.

“Then I began to use thorns autonomously in works, that I linked to my research of the imprint. I have drawn an imprint with thorns, the points of contact of the skin and where the thorns are placed, represent the nerve endings of the skin. I drew the imprint on a transparent canvas covered with silk, which allowed me to stick the thorns according to the lines of the drawing. Silk being a material of animal origins, the work is also a play with three elements; animal, vegetal and mineral.”

Giuseppe Penone, Entretien p. 276, in Catherine Grenier, Giuseppe Penone, 2004

In the series Skin of Leaves, Penone explores the relationship between our skin and the surface of a leaf and how they resemble each other. Pelle di Foglie-2° volto-mano (2007) constructed with bronze branches reaching upwards echoes the imprint that a body might leave in the long grass.

The exhibition includes a body of works on paper. 16 pagine (2008) are compositions of leaf imprints with coloured pigments.

Born in 1947 in Garessio in Italy, Giuseppe Penone lives and works in Turin. He was considered part of Arte Povera by Germano Celant in 1969. Since his first solo show in 1968 his work has been the subject of many exhibitions in various countries around the world. He represented Italy at the 52nd Venice Biennial and took part in the last edition of Documenta in Kassel.

This year Giuseppe Penone has been invited by the Château de Versailles to participate in its annual program for contemporary art. His monumental sculptures is exhibited in the celebrated gardens of Versailles on the 400th anniversary of their creation by André Le Notre.

  • Opening Saturday, May 25, 2013 6 PM → 8 PM
03 Le Marais Zoom in 03 Le Marais Zoom out

79, rue du Temple

75003 Paris

T. 01 48 01 70 52 — F. 01 40 27 81 37


Opening hours

Tuesday – Saturday, 11 AM – 7 PM

The artist

  • Giuseppe Penone