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Giuseppe Penone: A Tree in the Wood

Underground Gallery and Open Air
26 May 2018–28 Apr 2019

‘The tree is a spectacular creation because each part of the tree is necessary to its life. It is the perfect sculpture.’

Giuseppe Penone

One of the most eminent artists working today, Giuseppe Penone presents his extensive new exhibition in YSP’s light-filled Underground Gallery and across the historic landscape.

Works drawn from the past five decades of Penone’s career, including many never shown in the UK, trace his evolving and thoughtful consideration of humanity’s intimate relationship with the natural world. His poetic practice addresses themes around the body, nature, time, touch and memory, played out across different materials from stone, acacia thorns and graphite, to thousands of laurel leaves.

Reflecting the importance of trees as a recurring motif throughout Penone’s work, the remarkable Matrice stands at the heart of the expansive gallery and at 30 metres long, spans almost its entire length. The bisected trunk of a fir tree, it has been placed horizontally and meticulously carved to follow one of its growth rings. In another space, Propagazione is a delicate drawing made directly onto three walls, emanating from the artist’s fingerprint.

In the open air, nine bronze sculptures stand in dialogue with the landscape, the tallest of which, L’ombra del bronzo is an imposing 16 metres high. Overlooking the gardens, Albero folgorato, a beautiful bronze cast of a lightning- struck tree, has its exposed interior lined with gold leaf that catches the sunlight.

‘In the lush, rolling hills of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, his sculptures have never looked more at home’

Rachel Spence, Financial Times

Further into the Park, Idee di pietra – Olmo is sited in a clearing near to the 18th-century Upper Lake. Encircled by woodland and native flora, it conveys an air of mystery and quiet intrigue, for which Penone’s work is known, and speaks directly to its surroundings.

A full-colour catalogue with photographs of the exhibition by Jonty Wilde documents this major project. Essays by writer and critic Martin Gayford, the exhibition curator and YSP Director of Programme, Clare Lilley, and YSP Curator, Sarah Coulson, share insights into Penone's unique way of viewing the world.

‘Giuseppe Penone feels like the perfect subject for a summer exhibition’

The Daily Telegraph

‘An observer of nature who makes work to heighten our awareness of the beauty and power of the natural world’

Will Gompertz, BBC News

‘...human emotions and natural elements held together in an unlikely balancing act’

The Economist 1843 Magazine

Download the Giuseppe Penone Talking Together Card
Download the Giuseppe Penone Drawing Together Card
Read an interview with Giuseppe Penone in The Art Newspaper


Potatoes for Patate kindly supplied by W Moore and Son and Bradshaw Wholesale Ltd.

More Giuseppe Penone

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YSP Poetry Walks – Spring: Penone's Writings 1968–2008

27 Apr 2019

 'To enter into the forest of wood is to embark on a voyage in time, into the history of every single tree and every year of its life.'   – Giuseppe...


Giuseppe Penone Book Bag

Was £20 Now £14

This exclusive book bag features detailed artwork of Pelle di grafite – tondo featured in A Tree in the Wood by Giuseppe Penone – 36 x 36cm – Fully lined with black...


Giuseppe Penone Eraser

Was £3.95 Now £2.75

White round eraser showing one side with artwork of Giuseppe Penone's Pelle di grafite – tondo and the other side with text 'Giuseppe Penone A Tree in the Wood'. – 50 x 50 x...


Giuseppe Penone Magnet

Was £3 Now £2.10

Square magnet featuring detailed artwork of Pelle di grafite – tondo featured in the Giuseppe Penone exhibition. – 65 x 65mm  


Giuseppe Penone Pencil

Was £1.50 Now £1.05

White hardwood barrel pencil featuring 'YSP Giuseppe Penone' in black text.  


Giuseppe Penone Sketchbook


Black square hardback cloth covered sketchbook created especially for the Giuseppe Penone exhibition. – Contains 188 pages of acid free 140gsm cartridge paper – Suitable for all...


Giuseppe Penone: A Tree in the Wood


“An observer of nature who makes work to heighten our awareness of the beauty and power of the natural world” - Will Gompertz, BBC   A Tree in the Wood is an extensive and...

YSP Exclusive


Giuseppe Penone: Luce e Ombra Limited Edition Etching


This beautiful limited edition drypoint etching has been produced in France and Italy by Giuseppe Penone to celebrate his exhibition, A Tree in the Wood  Produced in Paris by expert...


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