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Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi / GIUSEPPE PENONE


An installation in three parts, Giuseppe Penone’s Germination (2017) addresses the relationships between humanity, art and the natural world, themes that the veteran Italian artist has examined throughout his career.
“The artworks that I have developed for Louvre Abu Dhabi aim to inscribe themselves in the place, underscoring aspects of its architectural form and content,” Penone explains. “The pieces that make up Germination echo the museum’s universal spirit.”
The works include Leaves of Light, an extraordinarily life-sized sculpture cast in bronze from a wild service tree.
A symbol of life that takes its inspiration from the light cast by the museum's canopy, Leaves of Light is also a direct connection with the woodlands of the artist’s native Maritime Alps in Piedmont, near Turin. The original tree had to be cut into 1.5-metre-long sections before it could be cast using the traditional lost wax method before being reassembled.
Germination also includes a wall-mounted sculpture made from different types of clay selected from all over the world, which have been mounted on a steel panel to form the shape of a vase. For Penone, each piece of clay is formed as a result of the simplest and most universal of gestures, the cupping of hands, that not only allows a person to drink, but also represents the very beginnings of human creativity and of sculpture.
The third part of Germination consists of a porcelain disk which bears the fingerprint of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding President of the UAE, at its centre and which generates a series of concentric circles, all drawn by hand and with millimetre accuracy, that radiate outwards from it like the rings of a tree or ripples on a pond.
Discussing the work, Penone said that he hoped it would echo the impact of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, likening the central fingerprint to the museum's dome, and the lines drawn on the porcelain to the influence the museum will have on Abu Dhabi, the UAE and the wider region.

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