On seeing the wood and the trees

Giuseppe Penone, Tree of 12 Metres, 1980-82

Perhaps it’s down to my preoccupation with forests this week, but I decided it was time to revisit Giuseppe Penone’s Tree of 12 Metres at Tate Modern. The starting point of this sculpture – an industrially sawn timber beam – remains visible at the base of the pieces but Penone has carved it back meticulously and – by following the clues given by the knots in the wood – revealed the wood’s past as a tree.

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