Among the central members of the Arte Povera group, Penone was perhaps the one most drawn to organic materials. In a series of sculptures begun in 1969, for instance, the artist chiseled through the growth rings of wooden beams to excavate tender saplings from within.
(11-Meter Tree), 1989
Penone made this work using a chainsaw and chisel to cut back the layers of growth from a single timber beam. He worked carefully around the knots to reveal the internal structure of narrow core and developing branches. The form of a young tree is exposed, while part of the beam is left untouched to signify its status as a manmade object. By returning the tree to an earlier stage of its growth, Penone reverses the effects of time.
Maarten Vanden Eynde
Since 2000 Vanden Eynde is working with trees and the remnants of them: wooden beams and sticks. In various attempt to reassemble a tree he used the ever present year rings as natural reference and starting point for his attempts.
Pre-Genetologic Research, 2000 (100cm x 100cm x 450cm) one piece
Pre-Genetologic Research: Stam-Boom, 2001 (100cm x 350cm 100cm)
Genetolocic Research Nr. 2&4, 2003 (30cm x 50cm x 180cm)
Genetolocic Research Nr. 23, 2005 (50cm x 50cm x 5cm)
With Genetologic Research Nr. 9 Vanden Eynde made the opposite movement by creating a beam from a branch. The wood fibres of the heavy oakwooden branch are followed creating an organic and impossible curved beam. The work was part of a series where wood was being tortured and transformed by machines. The metal boxes on both sides are the only reminders of human interference.
Genetologic Research Nr. 9, 2004 (50cm x 50cm x 250cm)