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View of “Giuseppe Penone,” 2017. Foreground: Equivalenze (Equivalences), 2016. On wall, from left: Equivalenze-2 luglio 2016 (Equivalences, July 2, 2016); Equivalenze-7 luglio 2016 (Equivalences, July 7, 2016); Equivalenze-14 luglio 2016 (Equivalences, July 14, 2016). Photo: Matteo D’Eletto.

Giuseppe Penone

Gagosian | Rome

View of “Giuseppe Penone,” 2017. Foreground: Equivalenze (Equivalences), 2016. On wall, from left: Equivalenze-2 luglio 2016 (Equivalences, July 2, 2016); Equivalenze-7 luglio 2016 (Equivalences, July 7, 2016); Equivalenze-14 luglio 2016 (Equivalences, July 14, 2016). Photo: Matteo D’Eletto.

Since the 1960s, Giuseppe Penone’s work has been based on an osmosis between the vegetal and human worlds; his forms are marked by time and are always dependent on the relationship between nature and the artist’s body, and above all on a certain spiritual quality that allows him to perceive the secret rhythm of natural flows. And yet with this exhibition, “Equivalenze” (Equivalences), I was unable to avoid an off-putting feeling of chilling formalism. The show features some materials familiar from Penone’s work, such as terra-cotta, and some that are new, such as micro-drilled oxidized brass, which he here uses as a support for four works installed on the wall. In these pieces, each of whose titles includes the word Equivalenze and a date in July 2016, Penone has used clays of different colors from all over the world, gathered with assistance from the Manufacture Nationale de

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