History of Our World

Jannis Kounellis

Posted in Art, Object, Print by B on March 3, 2010

Senza Titolo. 1975. Studio d’Arte Contemporanea, Rome

Senza Titolo, 1993. Palazzo Fabroni, Pistoia

Senza Titolo, 1983. Ateneumin Taidemuseo, Helsinki

Senza Titolo, 1969. Modern Art Agency, Naples

Senza Titolo, 1980. Galleria Mario Pieroni, Rome

Senza Titolo, 1994. Jean Bernier Gallery, Athens

Senza Titolo, 1999. Inglesia de San Augustin, Mexico City

Senza Titolo, 1976. Galleria Salvatore Ala, Milan

Senza Titolo, 2003. Torrione Passari, Molfetta

Senza Titolo, 1980. Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Ghent

Senza Titolo, 2000. Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, Valmontone

Senza Titolo, 1996. Piazza del Plebiscito, Naples

Senza Titolo, 2006. Halle Verrière, Meisenthal

Senza Titolo, 2005. MADRE – Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina, Naples

“It’s not for this form or another, but for creating the possibility of life, no? An attempt to open something outside these walls of convention. With our work we try to open an unconventional road to language, because language is stereotyped and in using language it constantly stereotypes itself. Our task is this: to find the means of opening more ways to communicate. This is what I believe.” – Jannis Kounellis.

Born in Piraeus in 1936 but living in Rome since the mid-fifties, Jannis Kounellis is considered a seminal contributor to the radically and internationally influential Arte Povera group. Literally meaning ‘Poor Art’, this began as an anti-elitist movement promoting a new openness towards artistic production, characterised by the use of antithetical materials such as sacks, beans, metal, coal, coffee, wool and gas. These unusual materials help the artist to manifest visceral “pictures” conveying a sense of the forgotten forces of an archaic world. Often epic in scale, Kounellis’s work possesses a grandeur that reflects his frequent choice of themes and ideas from the past and particularly from Ancient Greece.

Kounellis began his career as a painter, inspired in part by the work of American abstract artists of the 1950s. However, during the 1960s he abandoned traditional painting in favour of a host of everyday materials with which he created sculptures and installations, using wool, coal, iron, stones, earth, wood and even, controversially, live animals. As a result ordinary objects and natural matter hold a poetic directness and immediacy for Kounellis who is seeking to establish more concrete communication between the viewer and the artwork.


Jannis Kounellis

Angela Schneider: Anke Daemgen: Marc Scheps: Melanie Wilkin: Elisabeth Campolongo

Hatje Cantz



Jannis Kounellis

Hatje Cantz