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Giuseppe Penone

Respirare l’ombra 2000

While Penone has rejected the idea of cultural or ethic connotation, the existential principles he relates to so fundamental and rooted in the collective unconscious of the most varied cultures that he cannot help but evoke a subject area that extends from ideas of diverse myths or religious metaphors all the way to esoteric or environmental musings and caveats of our day and age.Man as part of creation, as result of one and the same evolutionary process is – as all living things on this globe – subject to identical physical conditions, so that structural similarities will inevitably occur.

Are humans a part of nature? Parts of mankind differentiate between culture and nature, though even culture may be considered part of nature when seen from a distance. This is suggested not least by the presence of the body (which is identical with us), and by its existentially necessary interrelationship with global ecological processes that cannot be severed. Perhaps it is the word then, the quintessential (data) carrier of things cultural, that remains as hope and indication for an elevated position of mankind aloof from the rest of the whole, as basis vindicating the imagined distinction between nature and nurture. The spoken word, this structured exhalation, condenses into prayer to an imagined entity that is unnatural in every way because it is creator of the natural and cultural alike, if you wish to adhere to the axiom of a divine creator. The room of prayer is a central locus for ideas along these and other lines.Accordingly, Penone’s installation enters into loose dialogue with the former synagogue and thereby refers in an unobtrusive way to the sameness of origin and similarity of being of all living things, and perhaps also to the presumptuousness of citing difference in aspirations or in imaginary constructs to legitimize the discrimination or indeed annihilation of other beings or other types of being.

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Diashow (3 Pictures)

Synagogue Stommeln, Giuseppe Penone, Installation View

Installation View

Synagogue Stommeln, Giuseppe Penone, Installation View, Detail

Installation View, Detail