Skip to Main Content

Jannis Kounellis

Greek, 1936–2017

1,907 followers
Follow

Jannis Kounellis

Greek, 1936–2017

1,907
Followers
Biography

Associated with Arte Povera since the 1960s, Jannis Kounellis investigates the alienation inherent in contemporary society, juxtaposing the materials of mass urban and industrial civilization with symbols and values of the pre-industrial world. Incorporating humble non-art materials such as cotton, wool, coal, grain sacks, glass bottles, meat hooks, fire, soot, smoke, bed-frames, doors, shelves, and clothing, Kounellis' work is a melodramatic mixture of installation, environment, performance, and theatrical show. In a 1971 painting that explores the relationship between history and contemporary experience, Kounellis reproduced a score from Bach’s oratorio St. John Passion, intending that a cellist must play the music alongside the painting in order to fully “activate” the image. In later work, Kounellis presents objects rather than making them; for a 2011 exhibition in Beijing, Kounellis arranged 4,600 shot glasses filled with erguotou, a Chinese grain alcohol.

Related Categories
Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Blue chip status
Blue chip representation
Represented by internationally reputable galleries.
Auction
High auction record
£1m, Christie's, 2014
User
Solo show at a major institution
Neue Nationalgalerie, and 3 more
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 13 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Tate, and 1 more
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum, and 6 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale National Pavilion, and 5 more
Biography

Associated with Arte Povera since the 1960s, Jannis Kounellis investigates the alienation inherent in contemporary society, juxtaposing the materials of mass urban and industrial civilization with symbols and values of the pre-industrial world. Incorporating humble non-art materials such as cotton, wool, coal, grain sacks, glass bottles, meat hooks, fire, soot, smoke, bed-frames, doors, shelves, and clothing, Kounellis' work is a melodramatic mixture of installation, environment, performance, and theatrical show. In a 1971 painting that explores the relationship between history and contemporary experience, Kounellis reproduced a score from Bach’s oratorio St. John Passion, intending that a cellist must play the music alongside the painting in order to fully “activate” the image. In later work, Kounellis presents objects rather than making them; for a 2011 exhibition in Beijing, Kounellis arranged 4,600 shot glasses filled with erguotou, a Chinese grain alcohol.

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Blue chip status
Blue chip representation
Represented by internationally reputable galleries.
Auction
High auction record
£1m, Christie's, 2014
User
Solo show at a major institution
Neue Nationalgalerie, and 3 more
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 13 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Tate, and 1 more
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum, and 6 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale National Pavilion, and 5 more
Articles Featuring Jannis Kounellis
What Sold at Frieze London
Oct 7th, 2019
What Sold at Frieze London
The Free-Spirited Amalfi Coast Weekend That Launched Arte Povera
Feb 26th, 2019
The Free-Spirited Amalfi Coast Weekend That Launched Arte Povera
What Sold at Art Basel in Hong Kong
Mar 31st, 2018
What Sold at Art Basel in Hong Kong
Michelangelo Pistoletto’s Reflections Bring the Viewer into the Work
Jun 30th, 2015
Michelangelo Pistoletto’s Reflections Bring the Viewer into the Work
Navigate right