Giuseppe Penone: Fui, Sarò, Non Sono (I was, I will be, I am not)
at Marian Goodman Gallery London
Until 22nd October 2016
A new solo exhibition for acclaimed Italian artist Giuseppe Penone, Fui, Sarò, Non Sono (I was, I will be, I am not), has opened at London’s Marian Goodman Gallery. Penone, a central figure of the Arte Povera movement, is nearly 70 years old and working with continuing vigour and ongoing creativity.
Most of the works in this show were produced within the last decade and Giuseppe Penone’s familiar preoccupation with natural, organic forms prevails – towering tree trunks rising up like totem poles and spindly branches holding improbable loads of piled up roof tiles. So lifelike are these woody structures that it almost requires a touch to reassure yourself that these are in fact cast bronze sculptures.
An extraordinary work occupies the far wall of the ground floor gallery. Spine d’acacia – contatto, marzo 2005 is a canvas covered in acacia thorns that close up is a sea of cruel spikes. Step back and the thorns collectively resolve into the shape of giant lips, Penone’s own, as if kissed onto the canvas.
As well as bestowing a kiss on the exhibition, Penone has left his mark elsewhere. His hand modelling for the bronze hands grasping and absorbed by the bronze tree trunks of Trattenere 6,8,12 anni di crescita (2004-16). And terracotta clay that has been squeezed in the artist’s fist is cradled inside the terracotta hollows that are themselves cradled in the thin branches of Terra su terra (2014). It all comes down to the sculptor’s hand.
A strong show from Giuseppe Penone, one of the masters of Italian contemporary art.
Giuseppe Penone: Fui, Sarò, Non Sono (I was, I will be, I am not) is on at Marian Goodman Gallery until 22nd October 2016.
A second exhibition of Penone’s works is showing concurrently at Marian Goodman Gallery Paris.
All photographs ©The London Art File
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