Stone ideas. Giuseppe Penone in Caracalla – Exhibition – Rome – Caracalla’s Baths

Ideas of stone, Giuseppe Penone in Caracalla. Credits SSABAP I Ph.D. F. Caricchia

Schedules: 9.00 – 19.15 until 31 August 2022 9.00 – 19.00 from 1 to 30 September 9.00 – 18.30 from 1 to 30 October Monday closed (open on 15 August)

Ticket price: 8 € all 2 € reduced 2 € right to online pre-sale reductions and free admission according to current legislation


Giuseppe Penone makes his entrance to the Caracalla Baths with a project that fits into the monument and its landscape that preserves the impressive ruins.
“Ideas of Stone. Giuseppe Penone in Caracalla” – from June 7 to October 30, 2022 – is an intervention promoted by the Special Superintendency of Rome, directed by Daniela Porro, produced by Electa and edited by Francesco Stocchi.

The artist has chosen to insert four works in the tour of the Caracalla Bathsto place them in the old natatiowhere they will hug the visitor when he crosses it. identity (2019 – aluminum, bronze), Triple (2011 – bronze, river stones), Ideas of stone, Elm (2008 – bronze, river stones) e Ideas of stone, Cherry (2011 – bronze, river stone) are timeless trees, but as time envelops and tells through the artist’s work.

“Contemporary art is at home at the Caracalla Baths – declares the Special Superintendent of Rome Daniela Porro – as it was in the days of the Severan emperors, who adorned them with wonderful statues and decorations of great symbolic value, now scattered throughout the world in museums, buildings and public spaces. And precisely an artist celebrated in the world as Penone with “Idee di Pietra” brings the spa a momentary reflection on man’s emblematic relationship to nature, space and time ».

“The tree must not forget – Penone explained in one of his writings “: it is the distortions, its balance, the harmonious distribution of its masses, its static perfection, the freshness of its modeling, the purity of its structure combined with its compact character of its bronze surface that make it a living sculpture” .

Over time, the tree in nature becomes a sculpture in itself, circle after circle engraved in the trunk that counts the passage of years and centuries. Like water, the stones smooth through millennia and sculpt them. Penone forms substance in a gesture that brings man closer to nature.

A creative journey that characterizes the whole process of Giuseppe Penone, accompanied by words and thoughts published for the first time on this occasion in Italy. In connection with the project at the Caracalla Baths, Electa actually presents Giuseppe Penone’s writings in the volume “Breathe the shadow”.

The branches of Penone’s sculptures will unfold and shine with natural light reflected on the metal, in a context imbued with everyday life: the Antonine baths, which were the place of pleasure for the Romans. The old life, yet so modern, which took care of the hygiene of body and mind.
It is in this socio-political space, so developed in spirit, a peculiarity of the Roman baths that the contribution of the Piedmontese artist is integrated into the project started some time ago by the Special Superintendent of Rome , who regularly welcomes contemporary art. pay attention to the improvement of the history of the monument. “The art of the time, insofar as it is a space art,” read Pino’s work, which in this place finds the Caracalla baths a symbiosis with his artistic thinking.

Giuseppe Penone (Garessio, 1947) lives and works in Turin. After his artistic education at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Turin, he made his debut in 1968 within the framework of arte povera, with a research centered on nature and its transformation processes. He presented actions, photographically documented, aimed at visualizing and modifying natural growth processes (Maritime Alps, 1968; cycle of Trees, from 1969; series of Vegetable Gestures, from 1984). The human body and its relations to the external environment are also the subject of the artist’s research, working with photographs, projections, imprints and castings of anatomical parts in different materials (Svolgere la tua pelle, dal 1970; Pressure, from 1974; Eyelids, from 1978) . In subsequent works, Penone has developed the theme of contact between body and matter (series by Soffi, since 1978), and presented, modified, enlarged or graphically elaborated parts or footprints of the human body (series of reproductions, Terre d’ombra, Anatomy, from mid-1990s). The tree, which Penone considers “the first and simplest idea of ​​vitality, culture, sculpture”, is a central element of his work.
His works, also accompanied by poetic texts of his own creation, have been exhibited at numerous national and international exhibitions. In 2007, he represented Italy at the 52nd Venice Biennale; in 2013 he exhibited in the gardens of the Palace of Versailles; personal exhibitions have been dedicated to him at the Center Pompidou (Paris, 2004), at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (2016), at the BNF in Paris (2021). “Propagations: Giuseppe Penone at Sèvres” is underway in New York at the Frick Collection. A monographic exhibition is planned for the fall at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, as well as a project for the Couvent Sainte-Marie de la Tourette.

Leave a Comment