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Desert X AlUla 2024 has closed. This installation is no longer on view.

Giuseppe Penone

Metamorphosis -The Logic of the Vegetal


Tree transforming into bronze, stone, sand, trees.
A tree develops its branches in its search of the light that is necessary to its life. A process of a hundred million years transformed trees into stone.
In twenty-four months, my tree became bronze.
From vegetal to mineral, from mineral to vegetal.
The slow dissolution of the mineral nourishes the life-generating earth.
Over time, all material is fluid, there are no boundaries between the animal, plant, and mineral kingdom, everything turns into something else.
Similar processes produce similar contents and forms in matter: roads, rivers, trees, hands.
The world of metamorphosis is a lawless one of fantasy similar to the dream world from which myth often derives a theme and which cancels out the principle of identity.

There are two elements in Penone’s La logica del vegetale – Metamorphosis / The Logic of the Vegetal – Metamorphosis: horizontality and verticality. A fallen tree is destined to die, but as often happens, at the point where the branch from a fallen tree touches the ground, new roots develop: life develops. There is a bounce in height from both horizontal and vertical position. There is a logic in the distance between one branch and the other within a tree’s structure, which develops its branches in the pursuit of light. This creates a division of the space based on the “logic of the plant.” If we look for the logic that determines the form, we inevitably have to address the aesthetic aspect.
In the installation, at the end of each of the five branches of the bronze tree, fossilized tree trunks are standing. A number of other fossilized trunks are scattered around in the space nearby like fallen trees; they recall that 100–150 millions of years ago the desert was a forest.