Jannis Kounellis

1939 - 2017 · Italy

Artist biography

Jannis Kounellis moves to Rome in 1956, where he attends the Accademia of Fine Arts. In 1960, Kounellis debuts with a solo exhibition at the Galleria La Tartaruga in Rome titled L’Alfabeto di Kounellis, where he exhibits for the first time the series Segnali: typographical signs on light background that allude to the invention of a new order for a crumpled and crushed language. From 1963 the artist definitively abandons the traditional artistic representation and begins to use materials like jute, wool, gold, earth, fire, and occasionally plants and live animals to realize his artworks. Kounellis' painting, sculpture, installations and performances encourage a new fruition of the artwork, so as to fully involve the public. The artist has been associated since the beginnings to Arte Povera and in 1967 he takes part in the exhibition Arte Povera at La Bertesca Gallery in Genoa, curated by Germano Celant.

Among the most significant exhibtions, we can mention: L’Alfabeto di Kounellis, Galleria La Tartaruga (Rome, 1961); Venice Bienniale (Venice, 1972-1974-1976-1978-1980-1982-1984-1988-1993-2011-2015); Jannis Kounellis, Städtisches Museum Abteiberg (Mönchengladbach, 1978); Identitè Italienne. L’art en Italie depuis 1959, Centre Pompidou (Paris, 1981); Documenta 7 (Kassel, 1982); New art at the Tate Gallery, Tate Gallery (London, 1983); Allegories of modernism: contemporary drawing, Moma (New York, 1992); Italian Metamorphosis, 1943-1968, Guggenheim (New York, 1994); Kounellis, Museo MADRE (Naples, 2006); Jannis Kounellis, Museum of Modern Art Saint’Etienne (Saint’Etienne, 2014).

Jannis Kounellis

  • Artworks in Collections 2
  • Exhibitions 22

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