Over the past 45 years, Italian artist Giuseppe Penone has examined our relationship to nature. For the latest Bloomberg Commission, he has created a twelve metre bronze cast of a tree, with a radiant gold-leaf interior, which spreads across the columned gallery.
In 1969 Giuseppe Penone (b. 1947) covered a tree in a thin layer of wax calling this seemingly simple, yet complex reflection on the passing of time All the Years of the tree plus one. He now recalls this poetic action by casting a layer of wax in bronze to spectacular result.
At first sight Spazio di Luce (Space of Light), could easily be mistaken for the straightforward life-size cast of a large larch tree. However, where once there was a tree now there is a void. The inside of the cast replicates in minute detail the tree’sbark while the finger prints on the outside safeguard the memory of the many hands involved in the sculpture’s making. The gleaming gold inside the tree pays tribute to the life-giving forces of light.
At the same time, the fusion of bark and hand prints alludes to the inseparable bond between humankind and nature. Penone was part of the legendary group of Arte Povera, which called for a radical rethink of society through making works directly appealing to the senses and challenging common conventions of artmaking.
The installation is accompanied by a year-long programme of talks and events exploring the rich relationship between nature and the city.
The Bloomberg Commission invites an international artist to create an annual site-specific artwork inspired by the rich history of the former library. Bloomberg’s support reflects its commitment to innovation, and its ongoing efforts to expand access to art, science and the humanities.
Additional support provided by the Wingate Scholarships.