Jannis Kounellis


Jannis Kounellis (b.1936, Greece) studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome where he remained until his death in 2017. From 1960 to 1966, Kounellis went through a period of only exhibiting paintings. In some of his first exhibitions, Kounellis began stenciling numbers, letters, and words onto his canvases, often reflecting advertisements and signs seen on the street. In 1960 he began to introduce found sculptural objects such as actual street signs into his work, exhibiting at Galleria La Tartaruga. This same year he donned one of his stencil paintings as a garment and created a performance in his studio to demonstrate himself literally becoming one with his painting. This newfound convergence of painting, sculpture, and performance was Kounellis' way out of traditional art. He became a key figure associated with Arte Povera in 1967, the movement theorized by curator Germano Celant as a major shift from work on flat surfaces to installations. Kounellis participated in the exhibition 'Arte Povera – e IM Spazio' at the La Bertesca Gallery in Genoa curated by Celant, which brought together artists whose work was concerned with the space between art and life, and nature and culture. Examples of artists who substantiated this basis of Arte Povera as a movement include Alighiero Boetti, Luciano Fabro, Giulio Paolini, Pino Pascali and Emilio Prini. To solidify the movement, Celant curated yet another group show, 'Arte Povera', which was exhibited at the De' Foscherari gallery in Bologna in 1968 with similar artists. Kounellis participated in many international exhibitions, including the Biennale of Paris (1971), Documenta (1972, 1977, 1982), the Venice Biennale (1972, 1976, 1978, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1993, and 2011), the Istanbul Biennial (1993), and the Biennale of Sydney (2008).

Exhibitions with L V H
Selected Work