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Giuseppe Penone

exh. cat., Haunch of Venison, London, May 27–August 20 2011

This is not the first time that Giuseppe Penone and Richard Long have shown together, either as a pair or as part of a larger group. While they showed as a pair at Tucci Russo’s gallery in Turin in 2007 and, again, in May 2011, their history of collective shows is extremely lengthy, its penultimate version, prior to this exhibition in London, being the sixth edition of Arte in memoria, at the synagogue of Ostia Antica in January 2011. The headway was in 1969, in the pages of Arte povera, edited by Germano Celant. Alongside leading figures from the homonymous group, founded in Genoa two years prior, there were also such American conceptual artists as Douglas Huebler, Robert Barry, Lawrence Weiner, Joseph Kosuth and Hans Haacke, the artists of the Land Art movement Richard Long, Robert Smithson, Walter De Maria, Michael Heizer and Jan Dibbets and the process artists Robert Morris, Eva Hesse, Richard Serra and Bruce Nauman. An international group, tried and tested in a frenetic succession of shows in a handful of years: Prospekt 69 in Dusseldorf and, also in 1969, Konzeption-Conception. Dokumentation einer heutinger Kunstrichtung in Leverkusen; the following year Processi di pensiero visualizzati in Lucerne, Conceptual Art Arte Povera Land Art in Turin, Information at the MoMA in New York and Between Man and Matter, when Penone first set foot in Japan. And this only to mention the most well-known exhibitions. For the first time during the post-war period, the rivalry between Paris and New York, between Europe and America, gave way to dialogue. This explains the absence from this assembly of the Pop artists, who landed in number and with the attitude of colonisers at the 1964 Venice Biennale. During these exhibitions, on these pages, the confrontation was equal, devoid of ideological, linguistic or national barriers. There was a desire, Penone confirms, “to work as universally as possible, detached from a specific culture”[1], a work “not of exclusion but of inclusion”[2], comprehensible to all, far from the elitist idea of the avant-garde. This resulted in the use of “poor” materials, a refusal of the market, the search for unconventional spaces and the reference to megalithic and prehistoric culture, whose foundations, based on simple and primary forms, spoke to everyone. The same culture, if we look carefully, that inspires both Penone and Long. Observing their work, on display in London, we are better able to capture affinities and differences.
Celant’s publication reflected the same climate: the critic retreated in good order to the second ranks; he accompanied the work of the artist, rather than investigating it; he chronicled a fluid state, in continuous development. Rigorously black and white, the publication alternates images and statements by the artists.
Those pages mark Penone’s first public appearance as the mascot of the arte povera squad. Born in 1947, he was 22 years younger than Mario Merz, 14 less than Michelangelo Pistoletto, 13 less than Giovanni Anselmo, 11 less than Jannis Kounellis and Luciano Fabro, 7 less than Alighiero and Boetti and Giulio Paolini, 5 less than Piero Gilardi, 4 less than Emilio Prini and 3 less than Gilberto Zorio. Precisely with the latter he developed a profound and lasting friendship at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Turin, where Penone enrolled in 1966, after completing his diploma in accounting. “The idea of the tabula rasa was in the air at the time, the idea of starting over from zero, to construct something free of compromises with the past”[3]. In the field of aesthetics, as well as that of politics and society, through the cancellation of hierarchies and privileges. “The desire for an equal rapport between myself and objects is the origin of my work”[4]. Or: “My work began in the second half of the 1960s, during a moment of strong reactions to the political and social system that made no allowance for indifference. This tough social criticism accompanied the desire for a resetting of values, in order to rebuild atop the foundations of a renewed identity. The choice to work with natural elements is the logical consequence of an idea that excluded the product of society and sought relations of affinity with matter”[5]. For Penone starting over from zero meant beginning with what he knew: that luxuriant nature of the sites of his childhood, in Garessio, his agricultural roots, the rows of vineyards and fields of potatoes and wheat cultivated by his ancestors. With the idea of reducing the sculptural gesture to exemplary actions, “minimal, animal, automatic, primary […] leaving the imagination to work on things apparently of little interest”[6]. The result is the six works-actions from 1968 entitled Alpi Marittime (Maritime Alps), published in Celant’s book and a headway to the London exhibition.

The tree will remember contact

“The tree, its any emotional, formal and cultural significance having been lost and consumed, becomes a vital element in expansion, in proliferation and in continuous growth. To its “force” was added another “force”, which is mine. Its reaction is the work”[7]. This is the premise: sculpture is not an object, it is not a form, but a “grasping”, a contact between two living beings, the body of the artist and that of the tree. But how exactly? Penone grasped a tree, continuing to hold it firmly with a steel hand such that the tree Continuerà a crescere tranne che in quel punto (Will Continue to Grow, Except at that Point); he wove together three small saplings in Ho intrecciato tre alberi (I Have Interwoven Three Trees); he clung to a tree, using nails and steel wire to trace the outline of his body in order that L’albero crescendo ricorderà i punti del mio contatto (The tree as it grows will remember the points of my contact); he used nails to draw the outline of his hand resting on the tree while, above, in Albero, filo di zinco, piombo (Tree, Galvanised Wire, Lead), he connected twenty-two lead weights, Penone’s age at the time, with galvanised wire and copper; in La mia altezza, la lunghezza delle mie braccia, il mio spessore in un ruscello (My Height, the Length of My Arms, My Breadth in a Stream) he placed a rectangular concrete pool, whose measurements matched those of his outstretched body, lying on the ground with his arms open wide, in the bed of a stream, its edges bearing the imprint of his hands, feet and face. “[…] when he finally has the feeling of a light head, the cold of the earth cuts him in half and renders legible to him with clarity and precision the point that separates the part of his body that belongs to the void of the sky and the part that belongs to the fullness of the earth. This is when sculpture occurs”[8]. In other words, when the sculptor adheres to nature, he creates a perfect work, of cosmic value. Crescendo innalzerà la rete (Growing it will Raise the Net), finally, is the tip of a tree trapped in a cube of steel mesh, open only on the underside. Atop the mesh rest a cauliflower, a slice of squash and two peppers, covered with plaster and concrete. Growing, the tree will lift the mesh, visualising the reciprocal conditioning between the work and nature. However, Penone warns us, “I did not make the piece in either a romantic or pietistic manner, I made it as a simple action of sculpture that utilises methods of agricultural labour, without either drama or mythisation”[9]. The tree is a living organism and continues to grow, despite human intervention. However, with a different timing. “Tending to respect its rhythm of growth the tree, after shifting in space in an attempt to avoid the obstacles thrown at it by the activity of the environment, in order not to reduce its times of expansion and its stability, ends up absorbing them”[10]. An equal confrontation, based on reciprocal respect. While the artist interferes with the methods of the tree’s growth, his work is subject to the same rhythms he attempts to modify. “The work is projected into the future, it is tied to the growth of the tree, to its existence. The work is in continuous development; to possess the work it is necessary to live alongside the tree, which is an actor. The mutation, the process of the tree’s growth is the experience of the work of art”[11]. The Alpi Marittime begin the exhibition in London, alongside two other works. Pietra, corda, albero, pioggia (Stone, Cord, Tree, Rain) from 1969, a piece that well explicates the dependence of sculpture on nature and atmospheric events. A cord is tied on one end to a tree and on the other to a stone laying in a field. As the rain wets the cord it shrinks and lifts the stone that, rendered vertical, becomes sculpture. The second work is a new piece, and of great significance: Continuerà a crescere tranne che in quel punto-radiografia (It Will Continue to Grow Except in that Point-X-Ray), from 2010,is an x-ray of the artist’s hand, completely absorbed by a tree. “A turn around one’s hand that plunges into the growth of the tree. Each month one turn, each year twelve turns, twelve minutes of film that record the development of the sculpture. Ten years, one hundred and twenty minutes with the hand progressively more invisible within the fluid matter of the vegetal, trapped in a vital process which is alien to it […] A slow and continuous plunging into the mire of time […]”[12]. From the Alpi Marittime series the exhibition thus presents three different and consecutive moments from Continuerà a crescere tranne che in quel punto. The first is the steel hand resting on the tree from 1968, not yet the cast of the artist’s hand, but simply the sculpture of a hand, immediately substituted by the steel casting. The second documents the same hand on the same tree ten years later, when it had already begun to grow around it. Finally, the x-ray that visualises the same hand, entirely absorbed by another tree into which it was set in 1986.
It is interesting to imagine these works as the most distant ancestors in the genealogical tree of Penone’s work. From which descend at least two main branches: the recognition and the testing of nature, in this case trees as living and growing entities, and the artist’s hand as the matrix of sculpture. The first branch undoubtedly contains I colori dei temporali (The Colours of Storms) from 1980-1987, which returns to the theme of Crescendo innalzerà la rete: forced to grow downwards within a steel structure, the tree not only returns to its vertical growth, but incorporates the structure. The work, in steel (the structure) and bronze (the casting of the tree), is the fruit of a reciprocal conditioning. The same family can be said to contain the cycle Gesti vegetali (Vegetal Gestures)from 1983. The title already denounces the symbiosis, the identification between gesture and nature. And sculpture, Penone warns, is nothing other than a gesture fixed in a form and a material. After covering a mannequin in clay, Penone carved into this material with his fingers; he then poured wax into the rilles made by his hand, later fusing them in bronze. The resulting strips wind and twist in entirely new interpretations of the human figure; erect, seated or supine, utilising the canonical images of the Odalisque by Ingres or the Venus de Milo. Set in a forest or rooted inside our around the trunk of a tree planted in a vase, they are surprisingly similar in form and colour to branches and shrubs. However the work is not completed the moment it is placed in the forest; as with the Alpi Marittime, it is the growth of the tree that defines the definitive form of the sculpture.
Regarding the hand as the matrix of sculpture, it is practically omnipresent, substantially in three forms: as an entire and recognisable element, for example in Alpi Marittime, as a handprint or as the matrix of form. The handprint, about which more will be said later, is impressed for example in 1987 in the Biforcazione (Junction) of a tree, laying on its side, and fused in bronze. Water, springing from a subterranean well, flows through the fingers of the handprint dropping to the ground. “The veins of water that bubble forth from the ground flow in rivulets that come together, like the branches into the trunk of a tree, like the fingers into the palm of a hand, like bronze into the matrix of a tree”[13]. The artist’s hands are instead the matrix of Cocci (Clay Fragments) from 1979. Caught in the primitive gesture of capturing water, they hold, together with fragments of a vase, a small quantity of liquid plaster, the primary material of the sculpture. The cast of the void created by the artist’s hands is the sculpture. It is worth recalling a work that precedes Cocci by four years. Vase (Vase)from 1975 is a vase on which Penone discovered the imprint of the potter’s hands on its handles. He enlarged and fused them in bronze, yet the operation implied that the artist’s handprints overlapped those of the potter. The memory of the creation of the vase testified to by the potter’s handprints was updated by that of Penone, who retraced the history of the vase in the opposite direction. “Where the skin leaves a print in the clay surface, there occurs a small sculpture, because your skin tends to assume the form of the skin of the potter”[14]. The bronzes that reproduce the enlarged potter’s handprints reveal Penone’s prints as he constructed the sculpture. In the end, the work of the artist is similar to that of the potter: both work with clay and create form using their bodies. And now the final descendant. Geometria nelle mani (Geometry in the Hands)from 2007 is a cycle of five large sculptures in bronze and stainless steel. Once again the protagonists are the hands, in this case holding a geometric figure: one a “circle”, one an “oval”, a “square”, a “triangle” and a “trapezoid”. Plaster was cast into the space between the hand and the object held (yesterday the fragment of a vase, today a solid), and its upper surface was smoothly finished. Sculpture is, once again, the formless solid held by the hand, fused in bronze, that supports the steel solid with its mirror-finished top surface. Two holes pass through the latter, carving out a sort of small tunnel that connects two contiguous sides of the solid: the opening of the first has the regular form of the solid being held, the second the imprint of the palm of the hand that held the plaster, and thus the negative of the sculpture. Despite its methodological and processual analogies, Geometria nelle mani is cause for some perplexity: perhaps due to a slightly artificial complexity and the coldness of the mirrored surface that refutes any imprint.
The works examined so far address a crucial theme for Penone’s generation, which turned its back on representation in all of its possible declensions, whether mimetic, abstract or gestural. Tautology was called upon to respond to the following question: how and where to continue to present images, in other words to make art, though beyond the zero degree of representation? In reality, to begin with, beyond the virtual surface of the canvas, already ripped and lacerated by the gesture of Lucio Fontana.
“The work exists as a common tautology of our existence with and in space”, Celant claimed[15], intending the real space of our existence. While for the American minimalists tautology was the indifferent repetition of geometric modules, while for the conceptualists it was the identification of the work of art with its definition, for the arte povera artists it assumed original declensions. For Luciano Fabro, who frequently adopted the term at the end of the titles of numerous works and environments, tautology was a diverse way of seeing things, in other words of observing them through the experience made of them. It was “becoming aware of objects we are already familiar with, a sort of circumnavigation of one’s conscience, of one’s personal experience […] All that resembles reflection and representation or linguistic habits is eliminated from research, in order to arrive at a total osmosis between vital and mental process”[16]. Or, further still, “I think about things, not about what I can think about things, this is tautology”[17]. Identifying with reality, re-living it free of any linguistic, conceptual or representative encrustation. Fabro assumed the iconography of Italy, and represented it in ever different forms, materials and associations. For Penone the reality of investigation is that known and experienced since childhood, in other words nature. More than observing it, he touches it with his hands, carrying out that primary gesture that, fixed in matter, is sculpture. There is more. When Penone began the cycle Ripetere il bosco (Repeat the Forest), rediscovering the form of the tree inside pieces of timber, he once again operated through tautology. Tautology, for Penone, pertains in fact to processes: of nature over time, of the artist over time moving backwards, though with an entirely different acceleration.
Essere fiume (Being River is emblematic. After collecting a stone from a river, Penone retraced its steps backwards, to the point of discovering the rock from which the stone was separated, prior to being sculpted by the waters of the river. He extracted a piece of the same rock and sculpted a stone identical to that found in the river. The sculptor becomes the river and assumes the lengthy time necessary for the creation of the original stone. He does not mimic the river, but identifies himself with it; he does not represent a stone, but sculpts one exactly as the river did. If he had simply exhibited the stone produced by the river, he would have carried out an operation of ready-made, if he had merely exhibited his own stone, he would have presented a sculpture; only by placing the two stones beside one another could he make clear his intent: resetting his own language in order to assimilate it to that of nature. If the river is a sculptor, the artist is a river when he works with stone: “It is not possible to think of or work with stone in a manner different than that of the river. Point chisels, tooth chisels, claw chisels, the scalpel, abrasive stones and sandpaper are all tools of the river […] Being the river is the true sculpture of stone”[18]. The double, what is more, together with anthropomorphism (see Gesti vegetali) and abstraction (see Geometrie nelle mani), are amongst the very few representative forms recognisable by man.
To better understand what Penone intends by tautology it is useful to examine his thoughts on other artists. From Fontana’s Concetti spaziali (Spatial Concepts), encountered at 18 years of age in Albisola, he captured for example the “cancellation of the borders between sculpture and painting”, in that colour born of matter as a structural and not additional part, in those gestures, those “lumps of the cosmos” created by man and by fire. In capturing the substantial difference between Pino Pascali and Piero Manzoni he was even more explicit when he confronted 1 mc di terra (1 m3 of earth) and Base magica (Magic Base). The first is a parallelepiped in wood covered with earth: not a cubic metre of earth, but the representation of a cubic meter of earth. While the second is a truncated wooden pyramid bearing a set of footprints. This is the pedestal for as many sculptures as people who stand atop it. While Pascali did not conceal his theatrical impulse: “for me they are fake sculptures and I am interested in observing this farce in the guise of an exhibition”[19], Penone was disturbed by the declaration: “The scenographic aspect in some cases masked the truth and depth of the work deluding my desire for radicalism…Its extroverted and imperfect tautology aroused the magic of making. Manzoni instead with his introverted and perfect tautology aroused the magic of the enunciated, of the object”[20]. However, with regards to the armi (arms) realised in 1966 by Pascali using leftover pieces uniformed by green paint, Penone asked himself this question: “Is the construction of a fake firearm representation? This is the true problem realised by Pascali’s arms. It is a problem of art, a problem of sculpture, a real problem […] art as realism, a realism so strong as to create the illusion of reality and in so doing achieve one of the most simple and mythical mechanisms of art, the illusion of the real”. He concluded: “Representing weapons that tend to rapidly become obsolete, and thus useless aesthetic objects, ‘sculptures’, monuments that celebrate only themselves is a marvellous tautology”[21].
And tautology is also fusing a tree in bronze. For a “poor” artist who proclaimed and made recourse to natural and primordial elements – we need only recall the exhibition Fuoco, Immagine, Acqua, Terra, hosted in 1967 at the L’Attico in Rome – the use of bronze, as well as marble, the traditional materials of sculpture, was certainly a gamble. However, in classical sculpture, Penone replied, these materials were utilised in an aulic, rhetorical or eternal manner to represent people or objects whose nature was entirely extraneous to these same materials. Instead, in Penone’s case, both the colour and the process of fusion tautologically assimilate bronze with nature. “Bronze fossilises plants, in bronze the vegetal conserves its appearance, exposed to the air it oxidises assuming the colours of plants. The patina of bronze is neither rust nor colour, but oozes from the metal with the same natural freshness of the green, grey and red mosses and leaves of the forest…its colour is determined by air, rain, wind, cold and frost just like plants. Bronze fossilises the human gesture in sculpture”[22]. What is more, pouring molten bronze into the gap left by lost-wax casting requires the use of pipes that recall blood vessels and the lymphatic ducts of plants.

A rebours

Through Zorio, who showed there in 1967, in Turin Penone met the gallery owner Gian Enzo Sperone, who offered him his first personal show in 1969, without considering the show hosted the year before at the Deposito d’arte presente in Turin and featuring 11 works, what is more destroyed, that experimented with “poor” materials and atmospheric agents in various combinations: pitch, wood, foam rubber, wax, acid and rain. The works presented by Sperone instead had nothing to do with nature. Eager to confront the city and its exhibition spaces, Penone chose not to transfer a piece of nature into the city but to “place himself in the urban context with his body and its actions”[23]. Indicazione dell’aria (barra d’aria) (Indication of the Air (Bar of Air)), is a square hollow glass tube, set into the window to allow for the passage of air and external sounds; Indicazione del pavimento (Indication of the floor) is a parallelepiped of concrete set on the floor to raise its level; Indicazione del muro (Indication of the wall) is a bar of bricks set into the wall to indicate a possible variation in its thickness. All were directed at making the spectator aware of space and the possibility of modifying it.
Yet the same year, while he showed Alpi Marittime in Dusseldorf, for the I Rassegna biennale delle gallerie di tendenza italiane in Modena he presented Albero di quattro metri (Four Meter Tree). It is the first in a very lengthy series of Alberi (Trees), one recent example of which is Ripetere il bosco – frammento n.28(Repeat the Forest – Fragment n.28), which welcomes visitors today in the niche alongside the monumental stair of Haunch of Venison’s London gallery. Beginning with a wooden element, a beam, a door, a table, a window, a floor board, Penone, through a process of “peeling”, rediscovers the trunk of the tree from which the element was made. “A shelter, a ceiling of trees, a floor of trees, a wall of trees. If we look at a ceiling, a floor or a wall made of wood, we see trunks, branches and leaves. It is useful to manage to understand from the pattern of wood the form of the trunk, the branches, of each single tree”[24]. Tracing the growth rings legible at its base, Penone reverses the process of the tree’s growth to the moment when the hands of man arrested it. Il suo essere nel ventiduesimo anno d’età in un’ora fantastica (Its existence during its twenty-second year in a fantastic hour), for example, generally considered the first Albero, indicates in the title that the operation was arrested at the circle indicating the tree’s twenty-second year, the artist’s age in 1969, when he peeled it. “For 20 days each day, with a carpenter’s schedule, I work near Garessio, in an abandoned shed. The fact that it is a former sawmill, while casual, is symptomatic: this is the space for working wood, there I work to draw out from a beam the form of the tree fossilised inside it”[25]. This is how he spoke of the first time, this is how he explained that the tree is a living entity, that grows and develops thanks to light, that memorises the gestures of its experience. “The tree is not allowed to forget: its contortions, its equilibrium, the harmonious repartition of its masses, its static perfection, the freshness of its shape, the purity of its structure united with the compact nature of its bronze surface are what make it a living sculpture”[26].
The custom of recording a child’s growth using vertical lines marked on a doorpost is in the end analogous to the growth rings of the tree found at its base.
There is peeling, and then there is peeling. The recovery of a tree can in fact be total, with the exception of the base, as in Albero di 12 metri (12 Meter Tree) placed in 1980 at the centre of Wright’s void in the Guggenheim Museum in New York; partial as in Albero di 7 metri (7 Meter Tree), which protrudes only in part from the beam, or total, with the tree inside the original trunk, as in Cedro di Versailles (Versailles Cedar): “Entering into the forest of wood is a voyage through time, into the history of each single tree and each year of its existence […] Penetrating with the chisel into the intimate history of wood, carved by days of sun, rain, snow, freezing […] is an idea that only a way of thinking in adherence to matter can develop”[27]. As the photograph depicting Penone while he works inside the trunk explains. Again, the trees recovered can be isolated, set vertically as they once were, or inclined, as in the niche in London, or set horizontally; alone or in a vertical or horizontal sequence, to Repeat the forest.
This raises a question: how to reconcile love and respect for trees with their felling to produce sculpture? “The sawmill is equivalent to the butcher’s shop, the cabinet-maker’s to a sausage factory, the cutting and felling of a forest is equivalent to an abattoir. Felling, rendering horizontal a vertical body, is a violent, cruel, ferocious and epic action that interferes with the vital cycle of other beings”[28], Penone retorts, to the point that it is exorcised in any culture through diverse rituals, all focused on warding off retaliation by its victims. For this reason Penone utilises only ill trees, and thus condemned, or already felled, such as the centenary tree from Versailles, which fell in 1999 during a terrible storm. The companion in misfortune of another cedar that will be examined later.
However, the true problem raised by the Alberi is that of time. The work is in fact neither the original element nor the fully recovered tree, but rather the process during which the real time of the tree’s growth confronts that of its peeling by the artist. “While this process will have cost me approximately one month and for those who observe the finished work it will cost a fleeting moment of visual perception, in reality it was originally very lengthy. Hence I consider my work in a certain sense to be a filmic sequence recorded backwards and rapidly accelerated”[29]. As with the hand in the tree, each operation of recovery implies three phases, all carefully documented: the initial object; the tree partially recovered during the course of its peeling; the tree finally restored to its original form.
Penone, for his part, works without anxiety or haste. “Leaving objects the time to develop, to create themselves, for me is natural”[30]. He grew up in the countryside, with the lengthy times of agriculture, which makes no haste to see immediate and guaranteed results: invest and sew today to reap the fruits tomorrow.

A telescope of light

If “sculpture is always an imprint of the human body”, if “the sculptor is the negative of sculpture”[31], Spazio di luce (Space of Light)from 2008 is the negative of the peeled Alberi.
A wooden beam, rather than being progressively peeled in the search for the trunk that generated it, is carved out from the inside to remove the trunk, though the lymph continues to run inside it, keeping it alive and vital.
Also emptied and filled with lymph are the trunks of trees. Scrigno (Shrine) from 2007 is simply a trunk cut in two, its halves placed beside one another like a shrine to conceal the treasure of lymph running inside it. A filter between the wall and the shrine is created by pieces of leather bark. However, 2007 is also the year when Penone presented Scultura di linfa (Lymph Sculpture) inside the Italian pavilion at the Venice Biennale, now reconstructed at the MAXXI in Rome. The walls of an entire room were clad with leather bark, while a wooden beam, red lymph running it its hollowed out centre, rested atop Pelle di marmo-cervello (Skin of Marble-Brain).
Matrice de sève (Matrix of Lymph), shown in 2009 inside the Court Vitré dell’École des Beaux Arts in Paris, where Penone regularly taught and continues to teach and, two years later, at the Musée des Arts Contemporains-Site du Grand-Hornu, is a unicum. A gigantic fir tree, sharply tapered, was felled due to illness in a French natural park, the Vallée des Merveilles, known for its presence of stone age petroglyphs. Penone recovered the tree with all of its branches, laying it down on them, like some large animal on its legs and, after cutting it in half, set the two pieces end to end to create a 24-meter long axis. Inside it lymph runs like water in the bed of a river, in an inhomogeneous hollow, full of roughness, cavities and deviations. To keep the lymph from escaping, Penone constructed small dams using clay casts of parts of his body, calibrated to the dimensions and form of the hollow. While inside the neoclassical École des Beaux Arts the tree rested on cow hides, which contrasted with the sharp and geometric design of the paving, inside the Grand-Hornu Museum, the paving was entirely covered with hides.
In many ways analogous and in others diverse is Spazio di luce (Space of Light) realised in bronze and gold for the biennial Arte in memoria, hosted in the ancient Synagogue in Ostia Antica.
Like the fir in Paris and the Grand-Hornu, the tree is set on its branches. Penone safeguards its integrity, reducing it however to a simple walking skin, even more similar to a large animal standing on its legs. It is possible to look through it, as if it were a large telescope. Working inside the Synagogue, oriented like all others of the Diaspora towards Jerusalem, the object of their memory, it could be said that Penone, who positioned his work in the most sacred space that once conserved the Books of the Law and beneath the tall columns attesting to the original dimension of the building, wished to create an outlook, a precious and privileged point of view. Fused in bronze, the interior of the bark-skin is entirely covered in gold leaf. A space of light, as the title suggests, because the tree is nurtured and fed by light, because it inhabits a luminous and spiritual space such as the Synagogue. Without considering the point to which gold is central to the history of art, above all during the eras when it served as the backdrop to hieratic and disincarnate representations. Hence suitable to a space in which images are forbidden.
“The tree is a volume and a structure that lives and is moulded under light. The trunk of a tree was manually covered with a layer of wax, using the hands to investigate its surface. The action of the hands became the matrix, the negative of the trunk. The shell of wax obtained was fused in bronze. The interior of the bronze was covered with gold leaf. The work rests on the ground supported by its branches and faces east.”[32] Penone’s words bring us back to the exterior of the tree, to its skin, whose contact with the hands of the artist is, as we know, sculpture.
“Spaces covered by the hands, spaces emptied by the hands. The space of sculpture filled with lymph. The flow of the hand that runs along the bark of the trees, which reveals the form of the wood and the veins of marble”[33]. To the trees touched by the hand, to the trees restored by the carving of the hand, to sculpture filled with lymph, in Scultura di linfa shown in Venice a new interlocutor was added: marble. A material from which Penone, by excavating and carving out its veins, recovered a circulatory system comparable to the roots of the tree, to the lymph that runs in its trunk, to the circulatory system of the human body. “The sense bounces from one form to another producing a chain reaction that connects phenomena, materials, distinct environments, associating them in a singular legibility…From one realisation to another the path is walked in successive steps, each work or each moment is a condensation, a nucleus acting within a network that gradually acquires coherence as it extends. Within each moment, even if everything is focused on effective realisation, there unfolds a memory that is simultaneously the activation of a plan of future action…The work of Penone grows and progresses like a system, that is to say rendering the work able to find within itself the possibility to emerge and develop itself”[34]. As with bronze, even more than bronze, this marble floor and more in general all of the works that employ this material, pose a challenge to the very heart of traditional sculpture. A cold and inanimate material utilised to camouflage and render people and gestures eternal and theatrical is brought to life by Penone not with the intent of representation, but in order to activate its own vital system. Two examples. The 16 panels of Pelle di marmo (Marble skin) shown at the Villa Medici in 2008 were cut from the same block and worked on one of their two sides. Carved to reveal their veining, they were placed around the edges of the room, save two, set perpendicular to the walls, cutting the space and its observation. However, the work that perhaps best expresses the “system” about with Jean-Christophe Bailly speaks is the very recent In limine , realised in occasion of the 150th anniversary of Italian Unification in 2011, and permanently located in front of the Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Turin. A block of marble functions as a base. From it Penone extracted the veining of the marble in both an accentuated and attenuated manner, creating a true circulatory system, the same that appears on the artist’s isolated hand found on the same block. Atop this base, almost continuing its veined pattern, Penone grafted the roots of an enormous tree that, set horizontally, defines a sort of architrave, a threshold, as suggested by the title. A threshold as door or entrance, but also as a border between nature, matter and man. Also striking about this undoubtedly monumental work are its precariousness and levity: the base is not perfectly vertical, the tree floats on its roots. There is no orthogonality to either guarantee or safeguard its stability.


A layer of wax set atop a tree trunk fused in bronze becomes Spazio della scultura (The Space of Sculpture) (on display), from 2001. This is the second centenary cedar from Versailles felled by the 1999 storm: while the first was peeled to the age of 25 years, for the other Penone worked only with the bark. The wax casting, moulded with his hands, point by point, testing and pushing on the bark of the trunk, was fused in bronze in 24 sheets that lay on the floor of the ancient cistern inside the Villa Medici in 2008, occupying the same position in the London gallery today. From the casts made of the diverse positions of the bark, negative forms were created to make the 24 moulds utilised for the lost-wax casting. However, fusion reveals the negative of the original, and thus the internal and concave part of the cast. Instead, set atop bronze branches, an animal hide rests on a bronze-coloured sheet that resembles, in dimension, colour and form, those resting on the floor. It was tanned with vegetal tannin; wetted, and set atop the same trunk from which the moulds fused in bronze were taken and hammered to reveal the rough surface of the bark in the negative. Thus the sculpture is born through the contact between human skin, that of the tree and that of the animal. After all, does the trunk overturned on its branches not resemble some large animal? Thus the skin of the animal resting on the branches of the tree resembles its bark. Once again closing the circle. When the skin raised atop the branches of Lo spazio della scultura is multiplied and hammered atop a trunk to record its conformation, it becomes the second skin of Albero di cuoio (Tree of Leather).
“The space between the hand and the surface touched is the space of contact, a layer of wax between the hand and the surface is the space destined for sculpture […]”[35].From the fateful 1969 is Gli anni dell’albero più uno (The Years of the Tree Plus One), the first wax mould made of Penone’s hands on the branch of a tree. The sense is to be found entirely in his words: “Adding one year of wax to the trunk of a tree, increasing its volume through the logic of its growth. Placing a gap of wax between the hands that touch and the surface touched. Wax, an organic material similar to the oily print left by the human hand. Wax nurtures, protects and polishes wood…Wax records the gesture of the fingers, the imprint of the hand and simultaneously the imprint of the tree. It inherently contains both forms. It is a humanised bark, a cultural bark, an envelope of knowledge, a skin made of imprints”[36]. Wax, which occupies precisely the space destined for bronze in the process of lost-wax bronze fusion, and thus for sculpture, “is the matter that is modelled, moulded, that collects the prints of those who touch it, the negative of the hands that model it. It contains the succession of images it has expressed from time to time” [37].
It comes as no surprise that one year after Gli anni dell’albero più uno, Penone completed Svolgere la propria pelle (Developing One’s Own Skin), extending the investigation conducted on the tree to his entire body. “The skin is a limit, a margin, a reality of division, the extreme point capable of adding, subtracting, dividing…[38]. The first work with this title consisted of 18 photographic panels showing full scale depictions of images of skin, pressed point by point under laboratory slides. In Svolgere la propria pelle-finestra (Developing One’s Own Skin-Window) , the film with the imprint of skin is placed directly on the glass of a window, another limit surface, between inside and outside. In Pressioni (Pressures) from 1974 the imprint of the skin was obtained instead by pressing strips of adhesive tape to his charcoal-covered skin, while the imprint of Palpebre (Eyelids) in 1978 was impressed in resin. Photographed and enlarged, the imprints were projected on paper, canvas or directly on the wall, and drawn with charcoal and graphite to create gigantic maps that evoke in turn the image of the bark of a tree. “These images are visually a map of pressure points and correspond to the exploration made point by point and in a systematic manner by an imprint. Enlarging the imprint produces a clear image of the intensity of pressure exercised on various points of the skin. Projecting the photographic image on the wall and using graphite to trace the pattern of the imprint at the different points of intensity of pressure produces a faithful recording of the pressure points on the surface of the skin”[39]. There is more. By drawing the imprint on the wall, Penone identifies with the support. In fact, by moving his fingers along the surface of the wall while holding the stick of graphite, the artist carries out a tactile reading, feeling the layers of plaster, the missing pieces, the reliefs and cavities. “It was like walking inside my skin and what is more it was a walking in the skin of the space”[40].
It is worthwhile recalling Guanto (Glove) from 1972: the hand is the matrix of a sculpture that exists by contact, though with itself. After spreading rubber on the palm of his right hand, Penone removed it like a glove, turning it inside out. He then wore on his left hand the rubber glove bearing the negative print of his right hand. The latter thus ends up with its positive and with the negative of the other hand. Given the complete adhesion between the two hands, the furrows of the one and the reliefs of the other conceptually neutralise one another. Like the peeled and the hollowed-out tree, the sculpture is the union of a positive and a negative. “The hands, plunged one into the other, were a single body and the idea of detaching them was improbable, no less natural than imagining separating one nostril from the other. The right hand through its action of feeling and touching created the negative of its skin that the left hand through its acting, feeling and touching wore”[41]. Had Penone not warned us that the double – hand or stone as it may be – is one of the very few forms of representation recognisable by man?
This cycle of works urgently confronts the dichotomy between “optical values” and “tactile values”, to use terms so dear to the great art historian Bernard Berenson.
Penone wrote: “Touching, understanding a form, an object is like covering it with prints. A pattern formed by the images I have on my hands. It is possible to say ‘laying one’s eyes’, but it is only after laying one’s hands that it is possible to lay one’s eyes and our gaze captures and deciphers the form and sees it with the prints of one’s hands”[42]. Or: “Seeing is contrary to touching. The eye that can be touched is the eye that does not see, it is the eye of the mine, it is the eye of true darkness, physical, tactile, it is the eye of the dead. The eyelid separates touch from vision”[43]. We have already spoken of Palpebre and the imprint projected and drawn on the wall. However, the investigation of the dichotomy touch-vision dates back to some eight years earlier and precisely the work Rovesciare i propri occhi (Reversing Your Own Eyes) from 1970, the piece that best expresses the refusal of vision as the privileged sense of art. Penone wore a pair of mirrored lenses that impeded his vision: they functioned, like skin, as a boundary between himself and the surrounding world. The lenses reflected the reality that the artist could not observe directly, but only in a deferred manner through photographs that will restore it to him, though reflected. Impeded from interacting with the exterior world, the eye concentrates its attention on the interior world, on the mind and thought, on essence rather than appearance. While in representative and mimetic painting the eye perceives, memorises and returns the image, in Penone’s case this latter is transmitted by the work even before its own author has observed it. “The faculty of vision is dilated in time and we trust in the possibility of seeing in the future the images of the past collected by the eyes” [44].

A laic sanctuary

Pelle di grafite (Graphite Skin) from 2005, on display today in London, can be tied back to Svolgere la propria pelle. It is the imprint of the skin, though projected on black paper and drawn with graphite. Black drawings of differing dimensions, some small, others at the scale of the room, that only when seen up close and under the correct light reveal that we are not dealing with monochromes, but rather with spider’s webs of lines rendered pearlescent and luminescent by graphite; flashes of vortexes and overlaps, landscapes, the bark of trees. For this reason, each title is accompanied by the specific name of a mineral: reflection of galena; reflection of quartz… of sapphirine, of zircon… The drawings, Penone explains, imply the idea of the universe, of the relationship we perceive when our eyes are closed, far from perceptive vision, between the human body and reality, in all of its points, at 360°. “With our eyes closed our contact with the external world is limited to the envelope. With our eyes open, the identity of our envelope reaches as far as we are able to see”[45], thus reiterating the primacy of “tactile values”. Why graphite? It is a mineral, translucid like wax, like the oil left by our skin after contact. Applied to a black surface, it functions as its negative, that is as light and reflection. “The black sign of graphite draws the surface; continuing the drawing in the search for an ever greater precision we erase the drawing and, in the confusion of signs, we end up with an image reflected in the mirror of graphite […] The more we delineate, describe and tell a story and define the reality of the subject the more we cancel its representation obtaining the reflection of reality. The reflection overturns the real as the imprint of a contact. The surface that defines the contact of our body with the real is the skin. The drawing of the skin, a skin of graphite”[46].
The same pattern of lines, though more legible because it is etched into marble, can be found in Pelle del vento (Skin of the Wind) from 2005: “Stone awaits vegetal movements. It is like a fragment of the sea. It has the same visual value as water that includes the rocky shore and laps against the coast though unlike the sea it is she [stone – TN] that is gradually wrapped by the fluid and slow expansion of the vegetal”, Penone comments[47].
In Grand-Hornu, as in London, the eight black drawings of Pelle di grafite wrap around the room. How can we not think of the laic sanctuary of the octagonal chapel in Houston, designed by Philip Johnson, though known as the Rothko Chapel? Between 1964 and the following three years, the great expressionist-abstract painter Mark Rothko painted three gigantic triptychs, one with a shaped profile, and five individual paintings, all dedicated to the Passion of Christ, and all realised in black and brown: so majestic and solemn as to nullify the architectural container. Like Penone’s drawings, only light and a mobile point of view allow one to capture the infinite nuances of a black that is only apparently uniform and homogenous.

The perspective of the imprint

Proiezione (Projection) (on display) and Ombra di terra (Shadow of Earth), from 2000,are substantially the same piece: the title of the first underlines the operation that created the sculpture, the second, its nature. This because an imprint, thanks to the layer of oil and dust it leaves on the objects it touches, is a shadow, a screen to light at the point of contact. “If we project an imprint, the light passes through the image at the points where there has been no contact, but the dirt, the earth that covers, creates shadow, a shadow of earth visualised in space. A shadow made of earth projected in space is a non-meaning in sculpture. Its weight restores and unites it with the mass of the earth, unless it is supported by the vegetal, which exploits light to escape the earth”[48]. The print of the artist’s finger on glass was projected on three different planes at 3 different distances and sculpted in clay (Ombra di terra) or in bronze (Proiezione), blade by blade, where light, as a result of contact, is unable to penetrate. However, a sculpture of earth that is the projection of a fingerprint is “a shadow of the earth”[49]. The three segments of the fingerprint, organised in space as three sections of the “visual pyramid” constructed of bands of projection, are raised above the ground and rest on a number of branches that, in turn, need light to grow. Their growth is revealed by the rings at the base of the trunk, so similar to the circles of the fingerprints.
With this work, which places the imprint rather than the eye at the point of the visual pyramid, Penone reiterates the primacy of touch over vision by questioning perspectival construction that pretends to trap the vision of reality and its representation within mathematical and geometric principles. What is more, in 1993 he wrote: “The now omnipresent language of mathematics places us on guard against the language of art, which remains and will always be based on the senses. He who investigates reality in a scientific manner expresses himself using the language of mathematics…to be able to create models parallel to reality. The uncertainty of the senses and perceptions have always served to nurture the imagination and the production of art. In any case there exists a collection of values, of sensations, of knowledge, emotions and perceptions tied to matter that a mathematical reading of reality will never offer us: this is sensuality”[50]. Perspective is the most complete expression of vision translated into mathematical and scientific terms. At the antipodes lies the fingerprint, defined by Penone as the “minimum of image”[51], “the evidence and the projection of our existence”[52], the minimum trace of the contact between the body and reality. A primitive, primordial and animalesque image. “The difference between the imprint of my body and the imprint of prehistoric man is insignificant. Our amimalities are equivalent. The difference is of historical interest […] The imprint is a resetting to zero, it is a starting point[53]. The fingerprint stands for identity, for the specificity of the individual, the signature of a crime or a villainous undertaking, that which marks the passage of an animal or a man in the sands of the sea or across the floor of the forest. The “artist’s imprint” certifies the originality and authenticity of the work: not by accident it is prohibited by poetics that champion anonymity, an abstract, minimalist or conceptual ascetism, that prohibit gesture, touch and personality. “A smooth world surrounds us”, Penone lamented, “surfaces without roughness, non-abrasive and honed are constructed around us […] The surface of this world has continually less wrinkles, it is a tactile image without volume. Must we look back with regret on the thickness of the skin of our ancestors when the soles of a pair of shoes were simply the callousness of the soles of their feet? […] A world of flat images”[54]. In short, we live in a society that while it makes fierce use of the fingerprint for policing and repression, tends to cancel it as a genuine sign of the identity of the individual.
Imprint as sculpture, imprint as drawing. Regarding Impronta del disegno (Imprint of Drawing), from 2001 and the following year, Penone wrote: “Tracing a surface with the hand generates the shadow of contact. Touching a piece of paper with a pencil generates the drawing of shadow. Joining the lines of a fingerprint and propagating it to the point of occupying the entire space of the paper is the ‘imprint of drawing’. The shadows of the fingers on the pencil are the prints found on the pencil during the execution of the drawing”[55]. Impronta del disegno consists of 10 works realised between 2002 and 2003 on white canvas-backed paper: one for each finger. From the fingerprint at the centre of the page, concentric circles branch out, set one millimetre apart, in a concentric and centripetal succession that runs all the way to the edges of the paper.
Propagazione (Propagation) from 1994 is instead Impronta del disegno protected by Plexiglas and immersed in a tub filled with water. Touching the water with a finger, the imprint propagates itself along the same concentric circles traced by the drawing below. These are the circles formed on the water’s surface when a stone is thrown and, once again, those of the growth rings of a tree. Confirmation that “the meaning bounces from one form to another producing a chain reaction that connects phenomena, materials, distinct environments, associating them in a singular legibility”[56]. However, Propagazione was also hung in 2009 inside a cell in the former Minor’s Prison of the Complesso Monumentale San Michele a Ripa Grande in Rome. From here the circles expanded and climbed up the walls of the cell. In a space designed and constructed to “re-educate” those who, upon entering, were forced to leave their imprint at the door. The same drawing is laid out by Penone on one of the walls of Haunch of Venison.
“The condition of water is formless, the condition of sculpture is form. Giving form to water is a poetic moment”[57], Penone wrote about Disegno d’acqua (Water Drawing) from 2003-2007, one of the 14 works realised inside the Gardens of the Reggia di Venaria Reale. At the bottom of a large pool of water lay a series of granite slabs, perforated to replicate the drawing of a fingerprint. At regular intervals, approximately every 30 seconds, 3,000 small bubbles of air issued forth from the holes; after initially rippling the surface of the water, they progressively configured a gigantic fingerprint that disappeared and reappeared with the rhythm of a breath. “A fingerprint in the water. Each time I wash my hands, I leave the cast of their skin in the water. Each time I touch the surface with a finger I propagate the drawing of my fingerprint on the water. On the surface of the water we find the skin of man, a man made of water and possessing the cohesion of a droplet of water. The surface of a droplet of water has the skin of a man. I formed the drawing of a fingerprint using infinite bubbles of air that ripple the surface of the water with the rhythm of a deep breath”[58].
Proiezione shares space with Stone Print Spiral by Richard Long. This text began by overlapping their exhibition histories, and concludes, in front of the work of both, by underlining their affinities and differences. While inviting them all to the pages of Arte povera in 1969, Celant distinguished between the American and European land artists, placing Long and Penone amongst the latter. While the first, for example Robert Smithson and his Spiral Jetty or Michael Heizer and his Double Negative, carried out titanic gestures to create monumental interventions that compete with nature, the Europeans “adopted vegetal variation at the scale and faeatures of man”[59]. Yet, the differences between Long and Penone are more than just slightly evident. Both in the mega structures of the American land artists and in the discrete traces left by Long during the course of his wandering, the natural materials collected in situ are organised in geometric forms – circles, lines, spirals – that separate and distinguish them from their context. Penone is at the antipodes: he does not wish to distinguish himself from nature, but penetrate its vital processes in order to interact with them; not using forms that move away from it, but through gestures that meld and blend with it.
Yet the choice to place Stone Print Spiral in London close to Proiezione, raised atop its branches, is perhaps no accident: the circle of stones is animated and “humanised”, similar to an imprint or, better still … the form of an imprint.

[1]G. Penone, in D. Semin, “La sculpture fluide. Entretien avec Giuseppe Penone”, in Various Authors, Giuseppe Penone, exhib. cat., Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, July-September 2009, Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Toyota 2009, p. 305.
[2]Ivi, p. 300.
[4]G. Penone, Respirar la sombra. Respirare l’ombra, exhib. cat., Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, Santiago de Compostela, 1999, p. 10.
[6]G. Penone, in D. Semin, “La sculpture fluide” cit., pp. 303-304.
[7] G. Penone (1968), in G. Maraniello, J. Watkins (eds.), Giuseppe Penone. Scritti 1968-2008, exhib. cat., Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, Bologna, September-December 2008; Ikon gallery, Birmingham, June-Juy 2009, MAMbo-Ikon, Bologna-Birmingham, p. 23.
[8]G. Penone (1968), in G. Maraniello, J. Watkins (eds.), Giuseppe Penone cit., p. 56.
[9]G. Penone, in G. Celant, Penone, Electa, Milan 1989, p. 19.
[10]G. Penone (1968), in G. Tosatto (ed.), Giuseppe Penone, exhib. cat., Nîmes, Carré d’Art Musée d’Art Contemporain, June-September 1997, Hopefulmonster, Turin 1998, p. 24.
[11]Ivi, p. 18.
[12]G. Penone (1970), in G. Maraniello, J. Watkins (eds.), Giuseppe Penone cit., p. 28.
[13]G. Penone (2000), in G. Maraniello, J. Watkins (eds.), Giuseppe Penone cit., p. 260.
[14]G. Penone, in G. Celant, Penone cit., p. 21.
[15]G. Celant, Arte povera, Allemandi, Turin 1989, p. 24.
[16] G. Celant, in Arte povera, exhib. cat., Galleria De’ Foscherari, Bologna, February-March 1968, Edizioni Galleria De’ Foscherari, Bologna 1968, s. p.
[17] L. Fabro quoted by S. Vertone, in C. Lonzi, S. Vertone, M. Volpi Orlandini (ed.), Davanti, dietro, destra, sinistra (tautologie), exhib. cat., Galleria Notizie, Turin, February 1968, Turin 1968, re-printed in J. De Sanna (ed.), Fabro, exhib. cat., Loggetta Lombardesca, Ravenna, October-December 1983, Essegi, Ravenna 1983, p. 148.
[18]G. Penone, in G. Tosatto (ed.), Giuseppe Penone cit., p. 100.
[19] P. Pascali, in C. Lonzi, Autoritratto, De Donato, Bari 1967, p. 240.
[20]G. Penone, “Un pensiero su Pino Pascali e Piero Manzoni” (1999), in G. Maraniello, J. Watkins (eds.), Giuseppe Penone cit., pp. 318-321.
[22]G. Penone (1980), in G. Maraniello, J. Watkins (eds.), Giuseppe Penone cit., p. 258.
[23]G. Penone, in D. Semin, “La sculpture fluide” cit., p. 303.
[24]G. Penone, “Ripetere il bosco” (1969), in G. Tosatto (ed.), Giuseppe Penone cit., p. 43.
[25]G. Penone, in I. Gianelli, G. Verzotti (eds.), Penone, exhib. cat., Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli, November 1991-February 1992, Bompiani, Sonzogno 1991, p. 202.
[26]G. Penone (1977), in G. Maraniello, J. Watkins (eds.), Giuseppe Penone cit., p. 202.
[27]G. Penone (1991), in G. Maraniello, J. Watkins (eds.), Giuseppe Penone cit., p. 96.
[28]G. Penone (1998), in G. Maraniello, J. Watkins (eds.), Giuseppe Penone cit., p. 99.
[29]G. Penone (1976), in G. Maraniello, J. Watkins (eds.), Giuseppe Penone cit., p. 93.
[30]G. Penone, in D. Semin, “La sculpture fluide” cit., p. 305.
[31]Ivi, p. 312.
[32]G. Penone, unpublished text written for the exhibition “Arteinmemoria 6”, curated by Adachiara Zevi, Ostia Antica, January 2011.
[33]G. Penone (2007), in R. Peduzzi, D. Lancioni (eds.), Giuseppe Penone, exhib. cat., Accademia di Francia a Roma, Villa Medici, January-March 2008, Éditions Hazan, Paris 2008, p. 38.
[34]J.-C. Bailly, “Il tempo visibile. L’atelier del pensiero di Giuseppe Penone”, in R. Peduzzi, D. Lancioni (eds.), Giuseppe Penone cit., pp. 58-60.
[35]G. Penone (2000), in R. Peduzzi, D. Lancioni (eds.), Giuseppe Penone cit., p. 34.
[36]G. Penone (1969), in G. Tosatto (ed.), Giuseppe Penone cit., p. 49.
[37]Ivi, p. 34.
[38]G. Penone, “Svolgere la propria pelle-finestra” (1970), in J.-C. Amman (ed.), Giuseppe Penone. Rovesciare gli occhi, Einaudi, Torino 1977, p. 82.
[39]G. Penone, in F. Guida, “Nota biografica”, in D. Lancioni (ed.), Spoglia d’oro su spine d’acacia, exhib. cat., Spazio per l’arte Contemporanea Tor Bella Monaca, Roma, March-July 2002, Tipolito Aurelia 72, Rome 2002, p. 62.
[40]G. Penone, in G. Didi-Huberman, “Essere Cranio. Luogo; contatto, pensiero, scultura”, in G. Tosatto (ed.), Giuseppe Penone cit., p. 203.
[41]G. Penone, in J.-C. Amman (ed.), Rovesciare gli occhi cit., pp. 90-91.
[42]G. Penone (1969), in G. Maraniello, J. Watkins (eds.), Giuseppe Penone cit., p. 73.
[43]G. Penone (1976), in G. Maraniello, J. Watkins (eds.), Giuseppe Penone cit., p. 246.
[44]G. Penone (1976), in G. Tosatto (ed.), Giuseppe Penone cit., p. 56.
[45]G. Penone (1970), in G. Maraniello, J. Watkins (eds.), Giuseppe Penone cit., p. 57.
[46]G. Penone (2002), in G. Maraniello, J. Watkins (eds.), Giuseppe Penone cit., p. 280.
[47]G. Penone (1968), in G. Maraniello, J. Watkins (eds.), Giuseppe Penone cit., p. 17.
[48]G. Penone (1999), in G. Maraniello, J. Watkins (eds.), Giuseppe Penone cit., p. 232.
[49]G. Penone (2000), in G. Maraniello, J. Watkins (eds.), Giuseppe Penone cit., p. 252.
[50]G. Penone (1993), in G. Maraniello, J. Watkins (eds.), Giuseppe Penone cit., p. 147.
[51]J.-C. Amman, “Lo scultore Giuseppe Penone”, in Id. (ed.), Rovesciare gli occhi cit., p. 49.
[52]G. Penone (1999), in G. Maraniello, J. Watkins (eds.), Giuseppe Penone cit., p. 232.
[53]G. Penone (1994), in G. Didi-Huberman (ed.), L’empreint, Centre George Pompidou, Paris 1997, p. 265.
[54]G. Penone (2000), in G. Maraniello, J. Watkins (eds.), Giuseppe Penone cit., p. 294.
[55]G. Penone (2000), in G. Maraniello, J. Watkins (eds.), Giuseppe Penone cit., p. 252.
[56]J.-C. Bailly, “Il tempo visibile” cit., p. 58.
[57]G. Penone (1981), in I. Gianelli, G. Verzotti (eds.), Penone cit., p. 193.
[58]G. Penone (2000-2003), in G. Maraniello, J. Watkins (eds.), Giuseppe Penone cit., p. 226.
[59]G. Celant, Penone cit., p. 8.