Giuseppe Penone is an Italian artist, who has been active since the late 60s. He is one of the representatives of the Arte Povera movement. His works investigate the energy exchange between men and nature, to the rhythm of the cycle of life.
Giuseppe Penone was born in Garessio, in the Italian province of Cuneo, on April 3, 1947. He studied at Turin’s Academy of Fine Arts, where he developed a deep interest in the exploration of matter in relation to time.
The interaction between men and nature is central to a series of works in which Penone intervenes in the growing process of trees. Trees are the main characters of his entire following research: by inserting steel fingers or metal wedges in the trunk, Penone waits for the tree to complete the work of art.
In the same way, birds, by pecking a piece of bread in which some iron alphabet letters were hidden, make the language appear.
The investigation on the senses – he uses human skin, nails, tree bark, sight, breath and smells – leaves the mark of time on living beings and on things. Penone takes the bark off trees to extract the image of a younger tree that is preserved in their inner part, while through breath sculpture is introduced from the outside into our bodies.
In 2007, Giuseppe Penone was asked to represent Italy at the 52th Venice International Art Exhibition Biennale, and in 2014 he was awarded the Imperial Prize, which is conferred by the Japan Art Association annually and is considered the most important international award.
S. Risaliti, A. Natalini, Giuseppe Penone. Prospettiva vegetale (Firenze: Forma Edizioni, 2014); L. Busine, Giuseppe Penone (Milano: Electa, 2012); G. Didi-Huberman, George Didi-Huberman su Giuseppe Penone (Milano: Electa, 2008)