Essere vento (To Be Wind)


Petrified tree, natural grain of sand and sculpted grain of sand

123 × 60 cm (48 7/16 × 23 5/8 in.)

The print of Giuseppe Penone's right hand holding two perfectly identical grains of sand is on a petrified tree trunk. But the similarity is unnatural: each grain has a unique shape. Duplicated, the grain of sand seems to materialise human beings’ impact on nature.

Penone, using a wide range of materials, focuses on natural phenomena. The Italian artist considers the tree, a key element in his work, "the simplest, most original idea of vitality, culture and sculpture”. In Essere Vento, he is interested in "the identity of a grain of sand carved by the wind; the identity of each breath of wind imprinted on the countless number of grains of sand, a number physically incalculable by man.”

Essere Vento was exhibited for the first time by the Pinault Collection during the “Reliquaries” (“Reliquaries”) show at the Laennec Hospital Chapel in Paris (2018).
Giuseppe Penone's other artwork