Vital figure of the Arte Povera movement - or as they liked to call it, attitude - Giuseppe Penone is an Italian artist born in 1947. Together with artists like Jannis Kounellis, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Pino Pascali, Giovanni Anselmo and others, he initiated a quest to find the essence of art based on a social utopia. Like his peers, Penone favored the use of raw materials like wood or found objects instead of artificial and expensive ones such as neon; he also considered the dichotomy between nature and culture as outdated and preferred to apprehend them both as part of the same experience. Trees take the form of human bodies as he urges to dismantle the frontier separating the humane and the organic for he considers that life and all its processes are just a transition. He first incorporated trees to his work in 1968 with his sculpture It will continue to grow except at that point where a steel cast with the form of his hand was put in a tree. In 1969 he started his still ongoing series Alberi, sculptures made with trees that investigate the relationship between man and nature and the way physical traces evolve over time. He took to a whole new level this work in 1970 when he carved a tree in front of a group of people transforming the sculpture into a performative spectacle.
The garden at the Fondation Cartier is open to the public and is part of the exhibition Trees. In it one can find artworks from different artists like Giuseppe Penone. Biforcazione, is a tree trunk with the particularity of having the imprint of a hand. The spectator can put his hand inside the space to fill a void and for some seconds he becomes part of the tree.