Kasteel Wijlre’s woods has two permanent artworks by Giuseppe Penone (1947, Garessio, IT): Pathway Tree and Bronze Tree (1997). This presentation in the Coach House features the original designs, moulds, photography and printed matter from the artwork’s realization.
Pathway Tree consists of a hedge structure with three different branches that you walk through. At the end of one of the paths, a ten-metre-high bronze cast of a tree reaches up to the sky. The hedge creates the illusion of a fallen tree’s imprint, but the work is based on a small branch of a tree. The bronze tree stands at the end of one of the branches.
Talking about the bronze tree in a 2012 interview with art critic Roos van der Lint, Penone explains: “Trees grow upwards, towards the light, but you cast bronze from the top down. This casting technique then assumes the structure of a tree by dividing the bronze back up through the mould. To allow air to escape during this process, pipes, which look like branches, are inserted into the mould.”
Giuseppe Penone, a farmer's son, grew up in the Italian countryside near Turin. Much of his work is based on ecological processes and expresses an intimate connection with nature and its forces. Penone was a proponent of Arte Povera and is interested in natural growth and processes of change. His work often makes visible what is not tangible in reality. Trees are a significant and recurring element in his oeuvre. As a sculptor, he seeks the traces that time manifests in matter. Giuseppe Penone lives and works in Turin, where he studied at the Accademia delle Belle Arti.