Home Magazine Summer ArtGuide #3 UK: the living trees by Giuseppe Penone in the Yorkshire Sculpture Park

The tree-obsessed Italian artist Giuseppe Penone (Garessio, 3 Aprile 1947) feels like the perfect subject for a summer exhibition. One of the most eminent artists working today, Giuseppe Penone presents his extensive new exhibition in YSP’s light-filled Underground Gallery and across the historic landscape. Discover more about this Summer don't miss the Summer Artguide #2. Olaf Nicolai "Chant d’Amour" at the Kunsthalle Bielefeld.

The tree is a spectacular creation because each part of the tree is necessary to its life. It is the perfect sculpture. (Giuseppe Penone)

Works drawn from the past five decades of Penone’s career, including many never shown in the UK, trace his evolving and thoughtful consideration of humanity’s intimate relationship with the natural world. His poetic practice addresses themes around the body, nature, time, touch and memory, played out across different materials from stone, acacia thorns and graphite, to thousands of laurel leaves. Reflecting the importance of trees as a recurring motif throughout Penone’s work, the remarkable Matrice stands at the heart of the expansive gallery and at 30 metres long, spans almost its entire length. The bisected trunk of a fir tree, it has been placed horizontally and meticulously carved to follow one of its growth rings. In another space, Propagazione is a delicate drawing made directly onto three walls, emanating from the artist’s fingerprint.


Giuseppe Penone, Photo Credit Jim Varney.
Giuseppe Penone. Photo Credit Jim Varney. 


Giuseppe Penone,  “Matrice (Matrix)”, 2015. Courtesy The Economist 1843
Giuseppe Penone,  “Matrice (Matrix)”, 2015. Courtesy The Economist 1843


In the open air, nine bronze sculptures stand in dialogue with the landscape, the tallest of which, L’ombra del bronzo is an imposing 16 metres high. Overlooking the gardens, Albero folgorato, a beautiful bronze cast of a lightning-struck tree, has its exposed interior lined with gold leaf that catches the sunlight. Further into the Park, Idee di pietra – Olmo is sited in a clearing near to the 18th-century Upper Lake. Encircled by woodland and native flora, it conveys an air of mystery and quiet intrigue, for which Penone’s work is known, and speaks directly to its surroundings. A full-colour catalogue with photographs of the exhibition by Jonty Wilde documents this major project. Essays by writer and critic Martin Gayford, the exhibition curator and YSP Director of Programme, Clare Lilley, and YSP Curator, Sarah Coulson, share insights into Penone's unique way of viewing the world. For more information look at the "YSP" WEBSITE.


Stay Tuned on Kooness magazine for more exciting news from the artworld.