About Giuseppe Penone: A Tree in the Wood

‘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