During FIAC this year, the Palais d’Iéna – the French economic, social and environmental Council (CESE) has invited Giuseppe Penone to exhibit his work in its great hypostyle hall. For his first exhibition in Paris since 2013, organized in collaboration with Marian Goodman Gallery, the artist is presenting his monumental work “Matrice di Linfa” accompanied by two new sculptures unveiled for the first time. In the making of “Matrice di Linfa” Penone intervened in the natural development of a fir tree by removing eighty rings of its growth. This work is emblematic of the CESE’s commitment to the environment and celebrates the 80th anniversary of Auguste Perret’s architectural masterpiece.
For the artist, “Matrice di Linfa” is a shape with an animal force, it also evokes an open book, a “long sacrificial altar” or “a long and thin boat sailing back and forth in the space, pushed by the strength of its branches.“ This outstanding sculpture, made from a fir tree found in the Vallée des Merveilles in the French Alps, results from a multiplicity of gestures, typical of Penone’s practice. It was first exhibited 10 years ago at the Ecole nationale supérieure des beaux-Arts in Paris.
Penone’s work is part of a process that is closely linked to nature, since the late seventies and in his early works he has drawn much inspiration from it. His simple gestures, interventions or formal explorations on natural materials such a wood, bronze, marble, stone, acacia thorns are often associated with body fragments or imprints, which connect man to nature. “What interests me, says the artist, it’s when humans’ work starts to become nature.”
Giuseppe Penone was born in 1947 in Garessio in Piemonte region, Northern Italy. He studied sculpture at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Turin; his early work was associated by Germano Celant with the Arte Povera. As a sculptor, he received the prestigious Praemium Imperiale award in 2014. In 2007 he represented Italy at the 52nd Venice Biennale. The Centre Pompidou in Paris organized a major retrospective show of his work in 2004. Giuseppe Penone lives and works in Turin, Italy.
The exhibition “Matrice di Linfa” is organized by the French in collaboration with Marian Goodman Gallery. The French , one of the three constitutional assemblies of France, would like to underline, through its work as well as through the exhibitions it organizes, how culture should play a central role in the public debate and continue to broaden the necessary dialogue among citizens within the organized civil society.
Photo: Exhibition at Palais d’Iéna, mock-up of the project, October 2019. Giuseppe Penone “Matrice di Linfa”, 2008. Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York, Paris, London.
CESE Benoît Fougeirol © Palais d’Iéna, architecte Auguste Perret, UFSE, SAIF