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Italian artist Giuseppe Penone installs new sculptures in Rijksmuseum gardens
Gesto vegetale (1983), Giuseppe Penone. Private collection. Photo Olivier Middendorp.

AMSTERDAM.- A bronze tree carrying a solid block of granite between its branches, a tree trunk with water gushing out of it, and images drawn from the artist’s own forehead are among the enigmatic works of Giuseppe Penone. This summer, the annual sculpture display in the Rijksmuseum’s gardens is dedicated to Italian artist Giuseppe Penone (Garessio, 1947). It is the first time that, in addition to a number of earlier iconic works, new work by the artist is being shown, such as 'Vene di pietra tra i rami' ('Stone veins between branches', 2015). Also a twelve meter wide screen consisting of two back-to-back mounted artworks in the Rijksmuseum’s Atrium is a world premiere: 'Spine d’acacia' ('Acacia Thorns', 2016) and Pelle di grafite-fronte (Graphite Skin, 2016), based on images drawn from the surface of Penone’s own forehead. The exhibition is on view from 10 June to 2 October 2016 in the Rijksmuseum’s gardens. Entrance is free.

Giuseppe Penone lives and works in Turin, Italy. Although his work is internationally renowned, it has had little exposure in the Netherlands. Penone’s work - both his early performances, his sculptures, drawings and numerous writings - from the beginning of his artistic career (in 1968, as the youngest member of the Arte Povera movement), expresses a deep connection with nature and its inexorable forces. He is particularly fascinated by natural growth and processes of change, which are often obscured by people’s frenzied existence. Trees are the most important and recurring motif in his work, and also play a leading role in the Rijksmuseum exhibition.

"A garden is alive with light, colours, stones, plants. The presence of people cuts through it, occupying it in a tentative and fleeting way, adding to the life of that place the easy motion of its existence. The most beautiful images in a garden have become those trees, stones and colours". --Giuseppe Penone (1998)

Of the 25 works, 18 are displayed in the gardens and seven in the Rijksmuseum. The more recent works are on display outside, including the 11 metre high Albero folgorato (Lightning tree, 2012). The sculptures are from the artist himself and from a private collection.

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