Marian Goodman Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new work by Giuseppe Penone, curated by Dieter Schwarz which will open on Wednesday, March 18th and be on view through Saturday, April 25th.
The exhibition assembles some of the core ideas of the artist which have guided him from his beginnings. In the North gallery it is the form of sculpture created by the touch of one material on another, by the forces of growing, by the hand of the artist, or by human breath, the trace of pure existence. In the South gallery, it is the form derived from the artist’s approach to reality, i.e. from touching and seeing – the becoming of a form following the propagation of the eye’s look onto the world or the mere imprint of the fingers on a surface. And in the Third Floor gallery it is the grasp of the hand which tries to capture what is escaping, the paradox of trying to give a fixed form to the flow of reality. Penone creates poetic metaphors for these experiences, and in the exhibition these metaphors correspond with each other as they grow out of the classical and ephemeral sculptural material he utilizes: glass, marble and bronze, as well as live trees and dead leaves.
A selection of key early works from 1970 to 1997 will be shown in conjunction with a series of new sculptures in bronze and marble which reflect the show’s title, Indistinti confini/ Indistinct Boundaries. The early works include a major object like Gli anni dell’albero più uno / The years of the tree plus one, 1969-2013, the black and white photograph, Rovesciare i propri occhi/ To reverse one’s eyes, 1970, Guanti / Gloves, a pair of two color photographs from 1972, and Soffio di foglie / Breath of leaves, a floor sculpture of myrtle leaves from 1979-2015, which will be accompanied by three recent related works on canvas. Propagazione dello sguardo/Propagation of sight, 1997, a group of seven trees in pots will also be shown. The exhibition will be accompanied by a brochure with an essay by Dieter Schwarz. A full exhibition catalogue will follow this June.
The new works in marble and bronze, Indistinti confini/ Indistinct Boundaries, 2012 embody Penone’s perception of the binary nature of material form, revealing the distinction between the inner growth and external forces of the life of a tree, as represented in pure white marble and contrasting bronze. Penone writes, “The indistinct nature of the marble encloses infinite millennial existences compressed by the relentless weight of gravity, existences supported by the pure white calcium that has structured its form. The whiteness of the calcium envelops our thoughts, appears in our smiles, articulates our movements. The marble belongs to us, nurtures and sustains and attests to our existence. A tree trunk of marble, of calcium, encloses in our thought, the carbon, the plant, and the plant the mimicry of the color of the bronze, the green of the foliage and the trees, the flow of matter ....where courses the subterranean life of the world. ”
Rovesciare i propri occhi/ To reverse one’s eyes, 1970, is a performative work preserved as a black and white photograph. It features the artist walking in his native Garessio, the town where he was born. A close-up of his face reveals his eyes covered with mirrored contact lenses, reflecting the surrounding landscape. With the eye no longer the window of the soul but a convex screen for an image that we can see while the artist’s own view is blocked. Penone states, the “ability to see future images collected by the past is entrusted to the uncertain outcome of a photographic recording. ”
Pelle di grafite-palebra / Skin of graphite- eyelid, 2012, a large graphite triptych on black canvas refers again to landscape, this time of the body as revealed through its patterned matrix of the skin depicted in a surface imprint of a closed eyelid. Penone refers to the closed eyelid as a “curtain, screen, projection of the glance”; it defines “the limits and space of thought or the fullness of sculpture as opposed to the emptiness of seeing”.
Soffio di foglie/ Breath of Leaves, 1979-2015 records the impression of breath and the artist’s body on a pile of myrtle leaves on the gallery floor. Breath, the element representing life and the body, is used here as the constitutive tool of sculpture, just as breath and the imprint of the body are made manifest in much of the artist’s work since the 1970s, reiterating the relationship between man and nature, nature and sculpture. A group of three works in acrylic on paper titled Breath of Leaves accompany this signature work from 1979.
A new work Avvolgere la terra/ Rising earth/ To enfold the earth-Rising earth, 2014, in wood, leather, terracotta and a related wall work by the same title illustrates the principle of touch which as Dieter Schwarz writes, “is [Penone’s] main device for accessing the world around him because touch is not only a physical process, it is also a fundamental principle of cognition and forming. Touch also determines the first moments in sculpture: taking hold, setting to grasping, pressing, the desire to retain a shape, the urge to permanently fix a form. ´
Slender bronze tree trunks on marble bases Indistinti confini – Silarus, Trebia, Sapinia, Rubico,2012 continue the dialogue with the marble works as well as with the earlier Propagazione delle suardo/ Propagation of Sight, 1997, the series of trees in pots. Penone creates a forest of natural forms punctuated by a small group of Terra su terra- Volto, bronze trees with individual terracotta forms resting within.
Giuseppe Penone’s recent solo exhibitions include Remembering is not Enough, at the MAXXI, Rome, Italy; Giuseppe Penone - Breath Is A Sculpture, at the Beirut Art Center, Lebanon; and Giuseppe Penone, at the Musée de Grenoble, France (all 2014).
In 2013, his work was included in major exhibitions such as Penone Versailles, at the Château de Versailles, France; Giuseppe Penone, at Kunstmuseum Winterthur; Giuseppe Penone: Ideas of Stone, at Madison Square Park, New York; and Giuseppe Penone: Spazio di Luce, Whitechapel Gallery, London.
Recent group exhibitions featuring Penone’s work have been held at the Sharjah Art Foundation, United Arab Emirates (2013), the Franҫois Pinault Foundation, in Punta della Dogana, Venice, Italy (2014), as well as the Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain, Paris, France (2014).
Giuseppe Penone has exhibited at Documenta V (1972), VII (1982), VIII (1987) and XIII (2012) and at the Venice Biennale in 2007, 1995, 1986, 1980, and 1978.
Please join us at the opening reception for the artist on Wednesday, March 18th from 6-8 pm.
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