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Seeing Through Closed Eyelids


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Table of Contents

List of Figures

His Being in the Twenty-Second Year of Life at a Fantastic Hour

1. Presentness and Trace

2. The Artist Turned Inside-Out

3. Radical Reciprocity: Passive Sculptor / Active Material

4. Tempus Arborus (Tree Time)

An Ontology of Sculpture: Form, Process, and Palimpsest


About the Author

Elizabeth Mangini is an associate professor at California College of the Arts, San Francisco.


Seeing Through Closed Eyelids shows how Giuseppe Penone, one of the most significant artists to emerge from Italy during the 1960s, transformed the history of modern sculpture and reconceptualized our connection to the natural and social environment. As Elizabeth Mangini explains in this cogently argued and beautifully illustrated book, Penone's sculptures challenge traditional ideals of aesthetic mastery by entangling artist, artwork, and viewer in their material and earthly context. Drawing on a wide range of philosophical, artistic, and political thinkers, ranging from Maurice Merleau-Ponty to Marcel Duchamp and Paolo Virno, Mangini brilliantly exposes the radically anti-anthropocentric nature of the artist's practice.- Anthony G. White, associate professor of culture and communication, University of Melbourne

An exceptional contribution to the field. Elizabeth Mangini's readings of Penone's career are dense, expansive, and written with a deft, agile clarity that is stunning in both form and content. Her methodologies are richly layered and informed by ethical insights that make this monograph as much a call to reconsidering our place in the world as Penone's in the history of art. This book is paradigmatic of how our field should move into the future.

- Adrian R. Duran, associate professor of art and art history, University of Nebraska Omaha

In cogent prose, Elizabeth Mangini's Seeing Through Closed Eyelids establishes the consequence of Penone's corpus beyond any nominal affiliation or national ascription. Penone, she shows, developed not merely a body of work, but a theory of sculpture - one responsive to international tendencies but rooted in a local engagement with the phenomenology of nature. Examining interrelated bodies of work within a larger career, Mangini's volume constitutes at once a careful examination of an individual oeuvre and a case study of a fraught moment in post-war Italian culture.

- Ara H. Merjian, professor of Italian studies and affiliate of the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University

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