FENDI’s Public Art Installation

FENDI installs a new site specific artwork by Italian artist Giuseppe Penone – entitled Foglie di pietra – in Largo Goldoni in Rome, opposite Palazzo FENDI. Following the solo exhibition of Giuseppe Penone, Matrice, hosted at the Maison’s headquarters at Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana in Rome (from 27 January 2017 through 16 July 2017), FENDI renews and reinforces its deep bond with Rome by gifting to the city and to the public an important artwork by one of today’s most celebrated sculptors.

After the majestic restoration of the Trevi Fountain and of other five fountains, and following the opening to the public of the first floor of its headquarters at Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, FENDI reaffirms once again its full commitment to the promotion of culture. This important initiative, the result of an effective synergy between public and private, has been carefully examined at every stage and approved by a specially formed joint committee, which has identified the artist and approved the project of the work, and composed by the Directorate General for Contemporary Art and architecture and urban suburbs of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, the City of Rome – Superintendence of Cultural Heritage for Rome, together with FENDI and Massimiliano Gioni, curator of the exhibition.

The great sculpture Foglie di pietra (Leaves of Stone, 2016) is one of the most complex artworks of Giuseppe Penone: two bronze trees – 18 and 9 meter-tall respectively – interlace their branches, lifting-up at 5 meters from the ground a sculpted marble block weighing 11 tonnes. In Foglie di pietra, archaeology and ruins, history and biology are grafted one on the other, creating a permanent bond between nature and culture, celebrating a deep synthesis between the flowing of natural and human time where a sense of longing and a romantic nostalgia for lost civilizations are brought to the surface. Installed in the architectural context of the city of Rome, the artwork activates a series of interpretations and associations between the various moments of the millenary history of the capital city: through the virtuous use of precious materials, such as bronze and marble, Foglie di pietra recalls the illusionism and marvel of Baroque Rome, whereas the fragments of ruins inserted in the branches of the sculpture are reminiscent of the Classic and Medieval era. Intimately linked to the history of Rome, Foglie di pietra is also deeply ingrained in the present and future of the city. This piece is in fact the first work of contemporary art to be permanently installed in the public spaces of Rome and it is bound to become a symbol of the identity of a constantly changing city that still never loses the bond with its historical roots.