Jannis Kounellis, ‘Untitled (Labbra) ring’, 2012, Elisabetta Cipriani
Jannis Kounellis, ‘Untitled (Labbra) ring’, 2012, Elisabetta Cipriani
Jannis Kounellis, ‘Untitled (Labbra) ring’, 2012, Elisabetta Cipriani

When Elisabetta Cipriani proposed the jewellery collaboration project to the noted artist Jannis Kounellis, he liked the idea of recreating the 1972 gold sculpture of his lips that was stolen in 1980. The artist designed this time the artwork as a wearable sculpture – a ring – made in yellow or white gold.

The ring, called Labbra (Lips), is a cast of Kounellis’ lips, but this time it is conceived as a wearable sculpture for the middle finger. Labbra is a reminiscent of the ancient funerary Greek masks that symbolizes the absence of breath. This evocative connotation shows the artist’s deep engagement and dialogue with the culture of the past, the influence of classical elements in his art and his Greek origins.

Signature: signed and numbered

Manufacturer: The Artist for Elisabetta Cipriani

Untitled (Labbra), have been shown at IVAM
Museum in Spain and Bass Museum, Miami. (2012)
‘From Picasso to Koons: The Artist as Jeweler’,
an exhibition curated by Diane Venet.
-The World Jewellery Museum in South Korea September 2013

About Jannis Kounellis

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.

Greek, 1936-2017, Piraeus, Greece, based in Rome, Italy