Giuseppe Penone: The Imprint of Drawing


27 March - 9 May 2004

The Imprint of Drawing was the first solo exhibition in a British public gallery for fifteen years by Italian artist Giuseppe Penone. Penone (b.1947) first achieved recognition for his work associated with the Arte Povera movement in Italy in the 1960s, in which artists worked using materials from daily life such as sand, earth, stones, fabric and newspapers. They used these simple materials in order to push the boundaries between art and nature, and to show connections among all organic life, in a process of open-ended experimentation.

The Imprint of Drawing featured around twelve of Penone’s impressive large-scale drawings and a selection of the artists’ sketches made between 1968 and 2003. The exhibition focused on Penone’s impressive contributions to drawing over his 35-year career. Penone’s ambitious, yet understated drawings magnify the delicate sensory surfaces of the artists’ body, such as his eyelids and fingertips, to landscape-like proportions, reflecting upon the body’s relationship to physical space. His work simultaneously refers to the visual and tactile, and creates formal and conceptual connections between drawing and sculpture.

Penone is inspired by the quiet slowness, growth, and time of the natural world. For example, several of his series of drawings are imprints of his own skin, magnified so that their patterns take on characteristics similar to those within nature such as leaves or tree trunks, that continue to change and grow. As a result of the deliberately slow pace of his artistic process, Penone’s work suggests a sense of time much larger than our own existence, and an awareness of the union of his own body and nature found in even its smallest parts.

Press Release