Giuseppe Penone is an Italian artist focused on working with wood. The tree carved sculptures he creates are true masterpieces.
Since the late 1960s, Giuseppe Penone has challenged the boundaries between our bodies and nature in his arresting performances, sculptures, installations, and works on paper. A member of the radical Arte Povera group who sought to smash the divide between art and life in their unconventional works, Penone first gained attention for his landmark performance, Rovesciare I propri occhi (To reverse one’s eyes) (1970).
His work represents a poetic expansion of Arte Povera’s radical break with conventional media, emphasizing the involuntary processes of respiration, growth, and aging that are common to both human being and tree.
Wearing a pair of mirrored contact lenses, which reflected and blinded him to the surrounding landscape, he picked his way forward with his feet and hands, emphasizing his body’s connection to the earth. Such performances eventually gave way to sculptures, mostly focused on trees. Exquisitely attuned to volume, mass, and space, Penone crafts trees out of materials like bronze and wood, revealing the disarming similarities between bark and skin, branches and limbs, trunk and torso.
Meet more amazing hand carved works with trees HERE!
In each work, he reveals the innate sculptural qualities of natural materials, chiseling marble and casting from nature to expose the deep patterns of growth and time.
Penone co–represented Italy in the 52nd Biennale di Venezia in 2007, and was awarded the Praemium Imperiale by the Japan Art Association in 2014.
Meet more artistic sculptures in the video below: