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At a time when many artists were abandoning traditional sculptural techniques, Penone began to use perhaps the most ancient method – carving. He took industrially sawn units of timber and, using chisels, followed the knots in the planks to remove rings of wood and expose the shape of a tree. His work looks at the relationship of industry and nature, suggesting that a sensitive approach to materials is still possible in an industrialised world. Penone’s first trees were made in 1969 and this work dates from 1980.

November 2009