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20200414For fifty years, Italian sculptor Giuseppe Penone has worked with, in, around and through trees.
One of his most staggering techniques involves carefully stripping back the layers of a tree - using its rings as gradients, to reveal the sapling within it.
The tree inside the wood.
His works inspire awe - they are rich with precision, craft and experience of working with such materials.
But they inspire something else too- something primal. They remind us that all those wood surfaces around us, the knots they are flawed with, are memories, scars, of the branches that grew within them.
An internationally recognised artist, with exhibitions from the Guggenheim to our own Yorkshire Sculpture Park – Penone has influenced artists from Martin Creed to Graham Gussen.
Lindsey Chapman is obsessed with nature and how we live with it. It’s a subject she has long been interested in learning about - how to be in a forest; how to be in a thicket; how to watch, feel, and relate to the world of plants, trees and animals. She dedicates a lot of her life to wildlife and the environment - through the world of conservation.
Together, Penone and Chapman try and bring to the listener a deeper understanding of the fruits of nature - leaves, trees, branches, all brought to life in dazzling complex ways.
She also visits the British Library to pour over Penone's 50 years of catalogues, and talks to curator of the Hayward Gallery, Ralph Rugoff, as he gets ready to open a new show - Amongst The Trees - where Penone has a number of works displayed.
About art, this is also about nature – at a time when this feels more essential and in need of a radical re-think.
Producer: Sara Jane Hall
Research, location recordings and interview material in Turin gathered by Davide Tosco.

Radio 4 arts feature.

20200414Radio 4 arts feature.