in the center of the historic piazza della signoria in florence stands a monumental fir tree that rises up to over 22 meters and stretches its metal branches towards the sky. conceived by giuseppe penone, the installation marks the largest ever placed in a public space in the center of the italian city. for the artist, the theme of trees coincides with the image of his youth spent in the woods of the maritime alps, and has therefore become a frequent presence in his more than 50 years of research. ‘abete’ reflects penone’s interest in the green elements of art, especially in the urban space — according to the artist, this is where the continuity between culture and nature, between history and the present, takes place.
abete, 2013 | stainless steel, bronze | 2240 × 600 × 600 cm
photo by ela bialkowska, OKNOstudio, courtesy associazione arte continua APS
the work chosen by penone to be placed in piazza della signoria is a monumental fir — preferred by the artist for its twist-resistant trunk and regular, stage-shaped branches. for ‘abete’, the trunk and branches are made of cast stainless steel, encircled by a lattice, which extends an ascending sense to the installation. the 18 elements that compose it have been molded in bronze using a process of castings from bamboo stumps. through its growth in concentric circles, the tree reveals its essential form — deeply rooted in the earth, but with branches reaching up to the sky.
the installation — curated by the uffizi in co-promotion with the municipality, and in collaboration with the arte continua association — is an anticipation of ‘alberi in-versi’ (trees in-verses) — an exhibition dedicated to penone at the uffizi gallery from june 1 to september 12, 2021. the exhibition coincides with the 700 year anniversary of dante’s death, with the title itself alluding to dante’s theme of the ‘tree that lives from the top’. here, the border between the corporal and the conceptual world will be the subject of a series of drawings by the artist on display in the galleries for the occasion.
artist: giuseppe penone
location: piazza della signoria, florence, italy
dates: march 25 – september 12, 2021
curated by: uffizi gallery
in co-promotion with: the municipality of florence
in collaboration with: arte continua association
nina azzarello I designboom
mar 31, 2021