Italian artist, born in Garessio Ponte in Piedmont. He studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Turin under Anselmo and Pistoletto. He had his first solo exhibition in Turin in 1968. Of all the artists associated with Arte Povera, it is Penone who is most concerned with a dialogue with natural materials. His theme as an artist is the integration of the human and natural worlds and he has a fascination with the process of casting. In 1968 he fixed a mould of his own hand to a young tree so that it would, in years to come, grow with it attached. In Potatoes (1977) casts of his ears, lips, and nose were placed over the vegetables, which then took on their form. The results were then cast in bronze and photographed among ordinary potatoes. The series of Breath sculptures (1978) in fired clay look like massive vases, but they imagine the shape of breath itself in terms of the volume of air between lungs and mouth. For Penone this has a mythological aspect: Prometheus modelled the human race from figures of clay, but it was Athena who brought life by breathing on them.