Penone and the 22-metre tree in Piazza della Signoria
The artist's installation will be the largest work ever to be housed in a public space in the historic centre of Florence.
The Uffizi pays homage to Dante with a maxi fir tree by artist Giuseppe Penone. The installation will be inaugurated on March 25, on the occasion of the Dante Day and is a preview of the exhibition of contemporary art Alberi Inversi, with works by the master from Turin, dedicated to Alighieri and welcomed in the spaces of the Galleries from 1 June to 12 September. About 22 metres high, the installation will be the largest work ever hosted in the public space of Florence's historic centre.
With a colour scheme that echoes the palette of the Piazza, the imposing sculpture is - as Maestro Giuseppe Penone explains - a hymn to Nature, which has been so supportive in this long year of pandemic, but also a symbol of the transformation of earth into air, of that spiral movement of human thought in its attempt to evolve that recalls Dante's ascent to Paradise.
Penone is coming to Florence for the second time: he had already been in the city in the summer of 2014 with the exhibition Prospettiva vegetale. After the success of the exhibition held in the gardens of the Palace of Versailles and the installation of the permanent works at the Venaria in Turin, Penone tackled the historic Boboli park and Forte di Belvedere - returned to the public after a long closure. Prospettiva vegetalen was an unpublished project conceived by Sergio Risaliti and curated by Arabella Natalini and Sergio Risaliti.
"An unforgettable event. Penone is an artist of worldwide stature, a fixed point in the history of contemporary art. More than others, he represents a humanistic vision of art, also in relation to nature," recalls Sergio Risaliti.
Since his early youthful experiences, which have long since become part of 20th century art history, Giuseppe Penone has followed a long path marked by a profound interest in the relationship between nature and culture. A delicate and powerful relationship, expressed by the Maestro through the use of multiple materials, from the most common ones cleared by the protagonists of Arte Povera, to the use of the classic materials of the sculptural tradition: wood, bronze and marble.
Penone has thus developed a highly personal dialogue within nature itself, engaging with unsurpassed mastery in interventions in large open spaces, without ever breaking the ancient balance that characterises it, but bringing back the contemporary gaze and lifeblood that distinguish him.
His work has been exhibited in some of the world's most prestigious museums, including the Guggenheim in New York, the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, each time recreating evocative atmospheres through works that reflect on the work of man and nature, artistic practice, the passing of time and life.