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Leaves of Light - Tree (Germination series)

2016
Giuseppe Penone

Germination by the Italian artist Giuseppe Penone is a series of four works that enter into dialogue with the architecture of the museum and its collections to explore the links between humanity, art and nature. The imprint of a human hand is the starting point for germinations that take the shape of a tree, an anthropomorphic vase, handfuls of earth and a line of propagation continuing to infinity. Symbolising the vital movement of birth, this work accompanies the blossoming of the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Born in 1947, Giuseppe Penone was a member of the Arte Povera (“Poor Art”) movement in the late 1960s. With Jannis Kounellis, Giovanni Anselmo and Michelangelo Pistoletto, he championed a return to humble materials as a reaction against consumerism. In addition to a rich classical culture, he also draws on Celtic and Eastern sources and explores the links between the worlds of plants and animals, using his own body as a tool to apprehend nature on the human scale. Highlighting analogies between mankind and nature, he lays bare the invisible mysteries of life and the work of art in gestation. It is precisely this vital and creative relationship that he explores in Germination.

From the enlarged imprint of the artist’s hands captured in the material, a monumental bronze tree rises at the heart of the museum. Its leaves – steel mirrors placed at the intersections of the branches – reflect the sunlight. The work is thus in harmony with the building designed by Jean Nouvel and the light that pours in through its dome. The germination of the handful of earth is here compared with the development of life, which can be spontaneous or created by human work. Penone regards the tree as “a symbol of life shared universally by all cultures”.

Artwork Details

Artist: Giuseppe Penone
Title: Leaves of Light - Tree (Germination series)
Geography: France
Date: 2016

Medium: bronze, stainless steel

Classification: installation
Dimensions: H. 19 m
Contact for images: images@louvreabudhabi.ae

Permalink: www.louvreabudhabi.ae/en/explore/highlights-of-the-collection/leaves-of-light

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