Cast bronze, grey granite river stone
27' x 11' x 9'
Installed on the Main Green, fall 2016
Giuseppe Penone’s 2006 cast bronze sculpture entitled Idee de Pietra is an elegant and contemplative reflection on the force of gravity in the natural world and the human body. The sculpture is installed amongst the elms that create a perimeter around the main green. Idee de Pietra is modeled after a nut tree, and possesses a striking likeness in color, texture, and stature to the real thing. It stands 27 feet in height, with a 5000 pound granite river stone is nestled amongst the branches. The sculpture was included in dOCUMENTA (13) in 2012.
The intrinsic qualities of trees have been the foundation of Penone’s work from early on, epitomizing the manifestation of gravity and the relationship of the human spirit to light. In Penone’s words, “a tree is a being that memorializes the feats of its existence in its very form.” Penone’s work is conceptually based on ideas of weight, balance, scale, and materiality, especially in the merging and juxtaposition of human and organic materials. Balance is central to Idee de Pietra, presenting an invitation to consider the stone, perched amid the branches of the tree, as an intermediary between the forces of gravity and light.
Giuseppe Penone’s work falls in the lineage of the conceptually rigorous Italian Arte Povera movement: a 1960s avant-garde movement whose earnest investigation into diverse themes of memory, art as life, and the relationship of humans to the natural world occurred principally through the use of simple artisanal materials. Arte Povera rejected modernism and abstract expressionism in favor of representing the divide between nature and the man-made, substantially challenging the status quo in favor of a more humanist approach.
Giuseppe Penone was born in 1947 in Garessio, Italy. He lives and works in Paris and Turin. Public collections include Tate Gallery, London; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Musée d´Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; MAXXI, Rome; Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Rome; Castello di Rivoli, Turin; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.