Jannis Kounellis

Untitled (Coffee) (1989 - 1991)

About this artwork

From 1989 to 2005 Kounellis made a series of works produced in editions, described as multiples, in which he incorporated elements drawn from the vocabulary of his earlier practice. Perhaps referencing Joseph Beuys’s multiples, the works comprise organic and industrial materials, as well as painted lettering and found objects, arranged in compact vitrines. The objects were chosen for their tactile or sensory qualities – for example, a kitchen knife, a sewing machine, coffee beans or hanks of hair. Compartmentalised into display cases traditionally reserved for museum artefacts, Kounellis raises the status of these ordinary items, inviting critical examination and artistic contemplation.

  • title: Untitled (Coffee)
  • accession number: AR00581
  • artist: Jannis KounellisGreek (born 1936)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Sculpture
  • medium: Etching
  • date created: 1989 - 1991
  • measurements: 65.30 x 45.50 x 7.70 cm
  • credit line: ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
  • copyright: © Jannis Kounellis
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms

Jannis Kounellis

Jannis Kounellis

Kounellis considers himself to be “a Greek person but an Italian artist”. Born in Greece, he moved to Italy in 1956 and studied at the ‘Academia di Belle Arti’ in Rome. Following a two year hiatus from painting, in 1967 he surfaced as an influential contributor to the newly emerging ‘Arte Povera’ movement. From this point his art developed as a mixture of painting, sculpture, collage and installation. It is characterised by the unusual combination of physically and culturally opposing materials. This includes soil, stones, sacks, fire, live animals, bed frames and doorways. Through his ambitious works Kounellis challenges the traditional notions of both painting and the gallery space.