photo: SAIKI Taku


ArtistGiuseppe PENONE
Material/ Techniqueparaffin, glass, paper, ink, acrylic, water
Size/ DurationH22×W100×D1200cm
Copyright Notice© Giuseppe PENONE
Year of acquisition/ donation2000
DescriptionBorn in Garessio, Italy in 1947. Lives and works in Torino.

Penone has been active as one of the artists leading the Arte Povera art movement, which has swept across Italy in the late 1960s and on. He is known for his style of using original materials of the natural world as they are in his works, gracefully revealing concealed nature of the material and its relationship with humans, especially human body. In Japan, his work was first introduced at “Between Man and Matter” exhibition (Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, 1970). His large-scale exhibitions were held at Pompidou Center in 2004, and at Venice Biennale in 2007, which were highly evaluated.

There are ten paraffin plates lined up on the floor. The first one has slight hollow, and sealed in the center of it is a drawing with the artist’s fingerprint, covered with water. The water filling the surface of the paraffin plate shifts to the object of tree trunkshaped glass, connecting the whole work that extends toward the end. The artist uses his fingerprint as a metaphor for a creative activity, and his fingerprint seems to be the source of his creativity. All paraffin, glass and water are variable substances, but here, glass and paraffin are fixed while only water adjusts delicately to the environment. Through this contrast, the ever-changing ephemeral phases of the environment and nature are shown even more clearly. The artist has succeeded in making their essences emerge through human intentional actions.