This Autumn, one of Italy's most prominent contemporary artists comes to Soho with a quietly exquisite new exhibition, Fui, Sarò, Non sono. This show, which takes over both floors of the gallery, continues the Italian artist's long-standing love affair with trees.
Penone is best known for forging his artistic identity in the Arte Povera movement. Literally meaning 'poor art,' Arte Povera emerged in the 1960's, led by a group of anti-establishment Italian artists. As a movement it rejected traditional standards of beauty and value, valorising the body, nature and experience over inherited aesthetic conventions or expensive materials. Their work often incorporated everyday objects, language, movement and natural processes.
The materials and subjects Penone chooses perhaps represent Arte Povera in its truest form. The twigs, leaves, clay, fingerprints and soil that constitute his work are available to everyone; to anyone. These natural materials are universal; familiar to people the world over. Much contemporary art can feel elitist and pseudo-philosophical. Penone's works are interventions in natural processes that maintain a relationship to the raw material in the finished work.
Aromatic: Penone sculpture (above)
The wood or stone is not simply used by the artist to represent something else, such as a human figure, instead the natural qualities of the material itself are represented in the artworks. The result is is instantly inviting - it is familiar and accessible, breathing life into the occasionally sterile environment of a white-cubed gallery. Some pieces appeal more to our sense of touch than sight, indeed, even to our sense of smell - the work above was made from leaves behind mesh, and gives off the distinctive aroma of a forest floor. A wonderful exhibition, brimming with life and soul - and perfect for autumn.
|What||Giuseppe Penone, Marian Goodman|
|Where||Marian Goodman Gallery, 5-8 Lower John Street, London, W1F 9DY | MAP|
08 Sep 16 – 22 Oct 16, Tue - Sat, 10am - 6pm
|Website||Giuseppe Penone, Marian Goodman|