‘The tree is a spectacular creation because each part of the tree is necessary to its life. It is the perfect sculpture.’
Guiseppe Penone is an artist and sculptor whose work explores the relationship between nature and mankind, and who has a particular focus on trees which appear as a recurring motif in his work. Little known in the UK, this major exhibition at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park gives us a chance to see a number of works which have never been exhibited in the UK before.
The most spectacular of his works are the large bronze trees sitting in the landscape, such as the pictured above, some of them bearing large stone circles or other shapes. In his view the tree is perhaps the perfect natural shape and these sculptures pay homage to the tree and, as we envisage the process of creation behind each sculpture, remind us just what a complex and powerful structure a tree is.
Some of the trees show the results of the added drama and having been struck by lightening, another natural phenomenon. These trees show as broken stumps with the raw broken face gilded to catch the sun and radiate the power of the tree.
The inside gallery reminds us of the complexity of the tree in another way. Matrice, for example, consists of a tree cut in half length wise and laid tip to tip with the central rings of the tree carefully hollowed out. It is another testament to the extraordinary natural process by which trees evolve and by extension a powerful reminder of the complexity inherent in every part of nature.
It’s a wonderful exhibition and well worth a visit.