Giuseppe Penone (b. 1947) is a key figure of Arte Povera, a seminal postwar art movement born in Italy in the 1960s that challenges the restraints of traditional art, especially in terms of materials. Over decades, he has used materials found in nature, such as tree trunks, thorns, water, rocks, and leaves, to investigate a number of involuntary human processes—including respiration, growth, and aging—through sculpture, performance, works on paper, and photography. He is best known for large-scale sculptures of trees as metaphors for memory and the absorption of knowledge and experience.
Penone’s works have been featured in solo exhibitions and installations at the Galleria degli Uffizi (2021), the Louvre Abu Dhabi (2017), the Rijksmuseum (2016), the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas (2015), the Beirut Art Center (2014), the Château de Versailles (2013), Madison Square Park in New York City (2013), and the Whitechapel Gallery in London (2013), among many other sites. Penone is the recipient of the McKim Medal (2017) and the prestigious Praemium Imperiale of Japan (2014). He has been invited many times to show works at both documenta and the Venice Biennale. In 2020, Penone made major gifts of works on paper to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and to the Centre Pompidou, Paris. In the fall of 2022, both institutions will present comprehensive exhibitions of drawings and related sculptures by the artist.