About the Artwork

Over nine metres tall, Giuseppe Penone’s sculpture presents a bronze deciduous tree bearing the fruit of five river stones, nestled within its branches. The bronze encapsulates the memory of the tree, memorialising and extending its life as it appears to rise out of the ground, undeterred by the weight of the boulders. Both the tree on which the sculpture is based and the river stones are local to the artist’s studio in Northern Italy.

Since Penone’s earliest works from the 1960s, trees have dominated his practice. According to the artist, “the tree represents the first principle and the most simple conception of vitality, nature and sculpture. It represents a live, fluid form.”*
*Pacquement, Alfred, ‘Ideas of Sculpture’ in Giuseppe Penone: Prospettiva Vegetale, ed. Arabella Natalini and Sergio Risaliti (Florence: Forma, 2014), 88.

Year: 2010

Copyright the artist; Courtesy of Marian Goodman Gallery Photo © Nick Turpin


bronze, river stone


899 x 400 x 200 cm

Artist Biography

Giuseppe Penone

Giuseppe Penone was born in 1947 in Garessio, Northern Italy and is one of the most important Italian artists associated with the Arte Povera movement. Since the outset of his career, Penone has embraced diverse materials and sculptural practices, continually challenging and reinventing conventional media. Penone’s sculpture explores connections between natural and cultural forms and his practice is dominated by the motif of the tree. Penone has exhibited widely, more recently at the Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Switzerland (2013), the Whitechapel Gallery, London (2012), the Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, Italy (2008) as well as a retrospective at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2004). Shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1989, Penone has exhibited in Documenta V (1972), VII (1982), VIII (1987) and XIII (2012) and at the Venice Biennale (1978, 1980, 1986, 1995 and 2007). The artist will present a major exhibition at Marian Goodman Gallery in both London and Paris in September 2016.