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Ghosts of the objects' maker

Looking around Tate Modern I noticed several works about the artist's own body, leaving a trace of it etched into the work. A poetic moulding of artist and material, the imprint of themselves remaining in this object. When the object undoubtedly survives, and the artist does not, the ghost of the objects’ maker remains immortalised perhaps forever.

Giuseppe Penone, Breath 5, 1978.

A large brown terracotta clay sculpture (1.5m tall). The marks running down the length of the pot are from his jeans, leaving the impression of his body as he leaned on the pot in order to form its shape. The overall teardrop form is the shape that he imagined his own exhaled breath to take. Combining an invisible aspect of his body, with a physical shape of another, more easily and literally recorded. Both ‘things’; the un-mappable breath, and the imprint-able trouser leg, are now both visible traces. The real and the made up; neither now present. We are left with an impression; the imagined shape of one and the fossil of the other.


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