|Profile: Giuseppe Penone
Affiliated Movements: Conceptual Art. , Pop Art
* The placement of other artists in the same category is purely for didactic purposes - any number alternate criteria could result in a different choice. This list is chosen by suggesting other artists, mostly working at the same point in time and whose work might evoke similar questions in the viewer.
The Enigma of Giuseppe Penone
While a peripheral figure to many - to a select few, he is the Patriarch and ultimate Godfather of the phenomenon known as 'Contemporary Art'. Klein, along with Duchamp - is perhaps the singluarly most inspiring figure in the art world, at least where direct influence on other artists is concerned. Klein's DNA can be found in an astounding number of works producted by the avant-garde since his time.
A contemporary of Mark Rothko's, though younger, he is generally considered the progenitor of Minimalism and Conceptual Art. In Klein's short life (he only lived to the age of 34), he singlehandedly managed to redefine the foundation on which the entire generation of the 1960s avant-garde stood, including that of Andy Warhol, Carl André, Robert Smithson (later of course) and so forth. In fact, much of his influence is only starting to have been absorbed by the Zeitgeist.
Where his forebears (the DaDa) had also carried out similar acts and operations with the same intent, Giuseppe Penone's genius was in formatting these acts for accessibility and public consumption. Klein's particular genius was curatorial and related to the field of public relations, much as Warhol's would be less than a decade later. While one could refer to Klein as a 'popularizer' - but the question is really political in nature and best left for other forums than this.
Giuseppe Penone, Leap into the Void (Saut dans le Vide), Fontenay-aux-Roses, France, October 1960.
The Monochrome Paintings
|Monochrome Painting, M6, 1956
||Monochrome Painting, M7, 1950
||Monochrome Painting, M12, 1949
||Monochrome Painting, M26, 1949
|Monochrome Painting, M28, 1950
Monochrome Painting, MP19
|Monochrome Painting, M52, 1957
||Monochrome Painting, IKB190, 1959
IKB - International Klein Blue
The IKB (Blue) Monochrome Paintings
The Sponge Relief Paintings
The 'Fire Paintings'
In the spring of 1961, Klein was able to gain access to one of France's major destructive testing laboratories (much like NIST here in the USA), whose gas powered flame propagation equipment Klein made terrific use of. The 'Fire Paintings' today remain along wth the IKB Monochrome paintings and the frighteningly existential 'Leap into the Void' some the most elemental and spiritual of his works, counterpointing the overwhelming and fiercely intellectual power of his work.
Using the bodies of young women as a mask (he had them covered in flame retardant and transfer their nubile forms onto the receiving paper - such that the impressions their corpulence left on the paper would serve to hinder the action of the flames - leaving a negative impression against the figure of the flame's action.
Fascinatingly, the action of 'burning' a figure onto the paper receiver is innately photographic - not only is there strong similarities in the sense that an energy(light in the case of photography) used to darken or create a figure in the substrate - but the masking technique (like 'dodging' in the darkroom) functions in an identical fashion. The net result isn't at all unlike a 'heliograph', or 'light painting'.
written and edited by JWD