Giuseppe Penone’s hand is so strong, it can squeeze trees. I’m talking about his bronze sculpture of a hand, of course. This Italian artist installed it onto a tree in Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, in 1968, and it’s even more spectacular after many decades have passed.
The “Continuerà a crescere tranne che in quel punto” (“It Will Continue to Grow Except at this Point”) was made from a cast of the artist’s actual hand and lower arm. Giuseppe attached in onto a sapling, and throughout the years the tree would thicken around the metal. Now, it looks like that hand is stretching the bark with its fingers.
“I feel the forest breathing, and hear the slow, inexorable growth of the wood,” Penone wrote in 1968. “I match my breathing to that of the green world around me, I feel the flow of the tree around my hand placed against the trunk.” It’s hard to know what impact the metal will have on the tree in the long run, but the contrast between cold metal and organic wood looks mesmerizing.