Jannis Kounellis

Untitled (1969)

About this artwork

Sacks of coal, corn and peas are resonant of Kounellis’s Mediterranean roots, evocative of the sights and smells of a hectic seaport and the commercial exchange of goods. However, their situation within a gallery space also places these products in a new artistic context. Propped along the length of a wall, their colour, mass and scent produces a lyrical rhythm that invests them with new poetic significance. Employing everyday materials and instigating a radical revision of the exhibition space, Kounellis’s practice was fundamental to the development of the Arte Povera movement in the late 1960s.

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  • title: Untitled
  • accession number: AR00069
  • artist: Jannis KounellisGreek (born 1936)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Sculpture
  • date created: 1969
  • measurements: 47.00 x 137.00 x 63.00 cm (variable)
  • 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.