From the Catalogue: Giuseppe Penone

Giuseppe Penone’s Fingernail and Marble (Unghia e marmo), 1988 stands as a pristine example of the renowned artist’s sculptural practice. Penone’s artistic career spans over many decades and has been aesthetically and artistically united by Penone’s ever evolving interest in the physical tactility of nature. Within the field of art history, Penone’s artwork has absorbed elements from Minimalism, Arte de Povera and Land Art. His fascination with nature as a means of slow and gradual artistic construction leads his artworks to possess a calming and meditative quality. As Penone explains, his creations convey “a reflection on the traces we leave on things, random marks or involuntary images like the imprint left on a piece of glass or a vase.”(Giuseppe Penone in Celant Germano, “Intertwining Metamorphoses,” Giuseppe Penone, Milan, 1989, p. 20)

Nature forever remains the ever-changing background of human existence, Penone channels the powerful and unrelenting strength of nature in order to toy and interact with its elements. The present lot, comprised of 2 marble slabs act as the base for which a glass fingernail sits. Of the works, the artist explains that within the Fingernail and Marble (Unghia e marmo),“I began with the idea of the fingernail as a tool for making sculpture, as a utensil of the body…I thought of making the fingernails of glass because glass is used to clean wood, its sharp. At the same time it’s transparent, so the glass and fingernail would have the same identity and fragility.”(Giuseppe Penone in Celant Germano, “Intertwining Metamorphoses,” Giuseppe Penone, Milan, 1989, p. 27)

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