New York

Giuseppe Penone

Giuseppe Penone grows squash plants from seed and encloses the fruit of the plants, when young, in molds that look like primitive human faces. When the squashes have grown to maturity, he casts the plants in bronze, as in Squash III and Squash IV, both 1986. The whole effect is stunningly beautiful and ecologically poignant and ironic: the frail, transient plants are preserved in eternally durable material, a memento mori of the earth. Penone’s works allude to nature in mythological, monumental terms. The exhibition’s key work, Sentiero (Path, 1986), concerns Daphne’s metamorphosis into a laurel tree. Penone deals with the dialectic of the natural and the human, in their manifestation as art. In a wall hanging, Hezelle, 1986, a white sheet is covered with gestures made of an “ink” of crushed leaves. The green of the leaves “grows” into the “natural” gesture. Pursuit of “naturalness” is an

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