FENDI PAYS HOMAGE TO ROME
WITH A PERMANENT PUBLIC CONTEMPORARY ART INSTALLATION
BY GIUSEPPE PENONE
IN THE HEART OF THE CITY
FENDI installed a new site-specific artwork by Italian artist Giuseppe Penone – entitled Foglie di pietra – at Largo Goldoni in Rome, opposite Palazzo FENDI the evening of May 22. Following the solo exhibition of Giuseppe Penone, Matrice, hosted at the Maison’s headquarters at the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana in Rome (from January 27 – July 16, 2017), FENDI renews and reinforces its deep bond with Rome by gifting the city and the public an important artwork by one of today’s most celebrated sculptors.
After the majestic restoration of the Trevi Fountain, along with five other fountains, and following the opening to the public of the first floor of its headquarters at the 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.
“As Edgar Morin says, we humans are not 50% nature and 50% culture, yet 100% cultural and 100% natural human beings. There are no mistakes in this calculation, but the acknowledging that every natural event is also completely cultural in human societies, suffices it to think of the rites, rules, thoughts, conceptualizations that go along entirely biological facts such as birth, nutrition, death. Evoking this double dimension at Largo Goldoni and talking about the “cultural tomorrow” of the capital city, the art of Giuseppe Penone also creates a new dialogue between history, the contemporary and the future. It is a further sign of a city that works, in many of its components, to give everyone back the right to freely enjoy the art and the benefits of scientific progress. Conditions indispensable to its relaunch,” comments Luca Bergamo, Deputy Mayor of the City of Rome with delegation to cultural growth.
“The permanent installation of the sculpture ‘Foglie di pietra’ will enrich Largo Goldoni through its expressive strength, and constitutes a great gift to art and culture by one of the greatest contemporary Italian sculptors. A gift which FENDI has contributed to, continuing in fact, to manifest its love for the city of Rome, with this new act of patronage,” says Claudio Parisi Presicce, Superintendent of Cultural Heritage for Rome.
“We are extremely proud to donate this wonderful and incredible art piece by Giuseppe Penone to the city of Rome, its citizens and the million tourists who come visit the Eternal City every day. ‘Foglie di pietra’ embodies once again how tied we are to this city and the importance it carries in the history of FENDI. Penone is an Italian artist of international fame with whom we share the passion for creation, sublime savor-faire and continuous dialogue between tradition and innovation, core values of FENDI,” states Pietro Beccari, Chairman and CEO of FENDI.
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 never loses the bond with its historical roots.
After installing several sculptures in the public spaces of cities including Frankfurt, Kassel, New York, and Paris – Penone intervenes in the landscape and history of Rome with Foglie di pietra, placing an unexpected presence that perfectly integrates into the city’s layout. Installed at Largo Goldoni, Foglie di pietra mixes nature and culture, interweaving a rich dialogue between history and contemporaneity.
Giuseppe Penone is a key figure in the history of contemporary art. Since his early relationship to Arte Povera, the Italian avant-garde movement of the 1960s, Penone has established himself as one of the greatest contemporary sculptors internationally. After numerous exhibitions in prestigious museums and following his enormously significant solo exhibition in Versailles in 2013 – the first and only Italian artist to receive such recognition – Penone is widely regarded today as one of the most original contributors to the history of contemporary sculpture.
Penone’s sculptures combine a careful selection of materials such as wood, wax, leather, marble and bronze, with his fascination for the transformative forces of nature. His works inspire a cosmic awe and the artist’s interventions and sculptural virtuosity reveal the richness and simplicity of nature while evoking themes linked to ecology and environmental conservation that are now more urgent than ever.
The house of FENDI was established by Adele and Edoardo Fendi in Rome in 1925. The opening of the first FENDI boutique – a handbag shop and fur workshop followed. Soon winning international acclaim, FENDI emerged as a brand renowned for its elegance, craftsmanship, innovation and style. In 1965, the collaboration with Karl Lagerfeld begins and continues today. In 1992 Silvia Venturini Fendi seconds Karl Lagerfeld in the creative direction. In 1994 she is given responsibility of leather goods accessories and the direction of the kidswear and menswear lines. In 2000 the LVMH Group acquires FENDI becoming in 2001 its majority shareholder. Today FENDI is synonymous with quality, tradition, and creativity.