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Giuseppe Penone: The Hidden Life Within

“My artwork shows, with the language of sculpture, the essence of matter and tries to reveal with the work, the hidden life within.”

–Giuseppe Penone

Giuseppe Penone was born in 1947 in Garessio, Italy. He belonged to Italy’s Arte Povera movement of the 1960s. Like many in the group, Penone uses simple materials from daily life to unsettle the boundaries between art and nature, and to point out the interdependence among all organic life forms.

His work demonstrates an attitude of astonishment and respect for all materials from the natural environment – stone, resin, leather and wood. In this installation, Penone has carved out the wood to reveal its past, showing the tree that grew inside so that it may “live” in the present. Rather than imposing a form, the artist — in contrast to the architect of this space — draws out an existing form.

Penone’s practice pulsates with an awareness of a common vital force in all living things. Insights are gained through physical exploration of space. This ongoing exchange between the self and the world can be seen in the way Penone relates his art to nature — an interaction between inner and outer realms. Inspired by the quiet slowness of growth in the natural world, the work suggests a sense of time much broader than that encountered in our daily existence.

Giuseppe Penone's installation is on display in the AGO's Galleria Italia until February 6, 2012.

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Research and installation of the contemporary art galleries are generously supported by:

  • Carol & Morton Rapp
  • The Contemporary Circle
  • Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan

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