To follow up yesterday’s article about the Arte Povera, here we are to present another Italian artist!
Giuseppe Penone belongs to which movement? The Arte Povera, I know it was difficult to guess! But he actually started producing works related to the movement when the movement itself was dying already (such a good timing, Giuseppe!), so we cannot actually put him in that exact context. Moreover, the Arte Povera works didn’t want to be political by any means, (it was too much of a committment otherwise), while Penone makes some powerful statements with his art, and we will see how.
He works mainly with trees (you bet!), but what you see here is not just a tree: the young oak in the center is real and alive, but the external rind is bronze casted.
The original big oak, from which the bronze rind comes, was destroyed by a flood and the artist managed to give it a new life with his art. It seems to protect the little one, to make sure that the same thing doesn’t happen to the baby tree. We have here a very profound concept about the maternal protection, even if we are talking about trees.
But there is one important thing that we are omitting: the location of this sculpture/installation! If you look closely, some of you can recognize the Castle of Versailles in the background. Below there is a photo where this is more visible. I don’t know if some of you had the chance to visit Versailles (if you can you should!), but its gardens are perfectly organized, there are clean symmetries, short bushes, big fountains. Everything is under control, everything is polished and perfect. And then, to break this symmetry, this tree appears, alone in the garden. The artist wanted to make a statement putting this work in Versailles, such a characterized space: nature always wins. Trees grow, water flows, and nature wins.