Giuseppe Penone: Ideas of Stone (Idee di pietra)
Three 30-foot tall bronze trees fool the eye in Giuseppe Penone’s Ideas of Stone (Idee di pietra) as massive boulders sourced from the Orco River near the artist’s studio in Turin, Italy, are cradled in the highest branches and limbs of each sculpture. Across his half-century as an artist, Penone has been recognized for his signature manipulation of natural forms. His work complements the park’s lush landscape while evoking the symbiotic and confrontational relationships amongst people, nature and sculpture. In Penone’s deeply contemplative exhibition, Idee di pietra—Olmo (Ideas of Stone—Elm), Triplice (Triple), and Idee di pietra—1303 kg di luce (Ideas of Stone—1303 kg of Light) are installed prominently on the Oval Lawn. Penone expresses that “A tree summarizes in an exemplary way the contrast between two forces: the force of gravity and the weight of life we are part of.” Penone was a member of the Italian Arte Povera movement of the late 1960s and 1970s, comprised of artists who sought to dissolve divisions between art and life by using commonplace subjects and materials in their work. He incorporates traces of fingerprints, nails, wires, carvings, and precariously placed boulders as remnant evidence of the sculptures’ manmade composition and the effect of human interaction with the natural world.