“Trees appear as solid beings, but if we observe them through time, in their growth they become a fluid, malleable matter. A tree is a being that memorizes its own shape and this shape is necessary to its life. Therefore, it is a perfect sculptural structure, because it carries the necessity of existence.”

Giuseppe Penone, one of the greatest Italian living sculptors in the world, explains his work. As a tribute, the first contemporary art exhibition staged at the renewed Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana in Rome by the Italian fashion maison Fendi, is dedicated to him.

The exhibition Matrice, curated by Massimiliano Gioni, is made of 15 works, sculptures and installations, created by Penone both during is working life from the 70’s until today, and some new pieces made especially for this event: solidity and fluidity are definitively the main concepts of all the exhibition. The renovation of the expositive space made by Fendi and donated to the city of Rome is perfect in its simplicity to emphasize Penone’s sculptures and their natural lines.

Wood sculptures of stylized trees, marble blocks stuck on the branches and acacia thorns and myrtle leaves create installations inside the giant rooms at the Palazzo della Civilità Italiana, whose large windows and white marbles form, together with Penone’s artworks, a place where the natural and historical time are connected. The masterpiece and symbol of this solo exhibition, which gives the title to the entire project – Matrice (2015) – is gorgeous with its 30 meters length of fir wood carved following the wood grain, and with a bronze sculpture embedded inside as a crystallization of the nature vitality.

Outside the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, the masterpiece Abete (2013), a never-exhibited-before wooden sculpture 20 meters height, co-exists perfectly next to the arches of building’s structure and with the essential architecture of EUR district. This installation and the entire Matrice exhibition anticipate the artwork Foglie di pietra (2016), commissioned to Penone by Fendi, that will be permanently collocated in the Rome city center at Largo Goldoni, in front of the historical Italian maison headquarter, as a gift for the Eternal City.

The exhibition Matrice by Giuseppe Penone will be open at the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana until July 16th 2017.