The piece of artwork “Essere vento”, literally, “being the wind“, was revealed on the 4th of December 2018 at the "laboratoire 3SR" in presence of the Italian sculptor Giuseppe Penone himself.

The sculpture (right), close-up on a sculpted grain and its model (left)
The sculpture (right), close-up on a sculpted grain and its model (left)

Giuseppe Penone likes to work with natural elements and materials, moulding them, sculpting them, and sometimes trying to reproduce the action of nature, as in his famous piece of work “Essere fiume”, for which he sculpted a rock just the way the river did it.


When they first met in 2015 in an exposition at the art museum of Grenoble, Giuseppe Penone asked the researchers if they would be able to sculpt a sand grain. “You bet!” was the answer.


Using high tech imaging tools, the researchers in close collaboration with the artist, carefully selected the grains that would serve as models, as well as those that would be eroded micron after micron, using LASER beam machining, to shape them like the models, as closely as possible. A number of pair grains were fabricated, and in honour of this collaboration with the researchers from the "laboratoire 3SR" specialising in the microstructure of geomaterials, Giuseppe Penone has chosen to include a pair of twin grains in a 50 kg piece of art made of moulded concrete. The sculpture was offered to the art museum of Grenoble and will be kept at 3SR for 3 years.


This work is the result of a collaboration between Giuseppe Penone, Joël Chevrier (Néel Institute), Cino Viggiani and Edward Andò (laboratoire 3SR), and the MUL company in Toulouse.


Cino Viggiani

Edward Ando


You can see more photos of the event
on the UGA website