In Art News: Giuseppe Penone at Versailles

Giuseppe Penone‘s upcoming Mad. Sq. Art exhibition, Ideas of Stone, will debut at Madison Square Park in a little over a month. In anticipation of this exciting project, we thought we’d take you on a trip to France for a peek at the artist’s exhibition currently on view at Versailles.

Set against the palace’s inimitable formal gardens, Penone’s monumental tree sculptures – comprised of wood, rock, and bronze — are organically and gracefully integrated into the elegantly rich landscape. Upon closer inspection, the forms take on a human quality as one slowly recognizes traces of manmade elements and manipulation: the sculptures are upended upon themselves, uprooted, hollowed, and carved into forms which are indicative of the power of nature and of man. Other sculptures appear to bow to each other as if in intimate conversation.

Penone was an early proponent of the Italian Arte Povera movement which arose in the 1960’s and was comprised of artists who sought to dissolve divisions between art and nature. Employing the tree as an underlying motif throughout his work, the artist continues to address concepts of gravity, nature, culture, balance, and scale. Despite their monumental size, his works are inherently inviting. Indeed, stepping onto the lawns at Versailles is akin to entering Penone’s world where, as in the artist’s words, “the work of man starts to become nature.”


Penone Versailles is currently on view through October 31, 2013.