(Italian, b. 1947)
Giuseppe Penone is an Italian artist with a long and prolific career. Born in the small city of Garessio (near Turin), Penone studied at the Accademia di Belle Arte in Turin and was exposed to a variety of post-war art during his early twenties. He started practicing as a professional artist in 1968 in the Garessio forest, and quickly became known as a younger member of the Italian Arte Povera (“poor art”) movement.
The trajectory of Penone's career reveals that his works have always been deeply concerned with the relationship between man and nature. Instead of simply accepting the model of producing installations and two-dimensional works to be displayed in museums and galleries, he walked into the woods and became an artist who focused more on the actions and procedures of transforming natural elements—in both assimilative and interventional ways—to relate them to concrete, visual, tactile, or even olfactory experiences. Later, as he shifted toward conventional exhibition spaces and more orthodox sculptural materials like wood, bronze, and marble, the unremitting devotion towards nature (especially arboreal nature) remained, and still thrives today.
As a renowned international artist, Giuseppe Penone now lives and works primarily in Turin and Paris. He received the Rolf Schock Prize for Visual Arts in 2001. His works are collected by a variety of major art institutions, including the Tate Gallery, London; the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Recent solo exhibitions include “Penone Versailles,” Château de Versailles, France (2013); Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Switzerland (2013); Madison Square Park, New York (2013-14); and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York (2014).
Written by Zhiyan Yang, a doctoral student in Art History