l: live piano music r: untitled

jannis kounellisfondazione arnaldo pomodoro, milan, italy24 september 2006 – 11 february 2007

a former industrial site like the pomodoro foundatio(once a turbine production plant) is perfect for hostingsculptures by the greek artist jannis kounellis. kounellis is one of the founding figures of the‘arte povera’ movement. his career dates back to 1958, and almost fifty yearlater, a combination of new projects (done in situ)with some of his ‘historical’ creations are shown.

jannis kounellis broke with painting in favor ofsculptural and performance art. he has adopted theidea that art should be replaced by life itself.from 1969 onward, burlap, iron, cotton, parrots andcactuses are joined by stone and wood, coffee, fire,plaits of hair, eggs, rope, rats, beetles, crows, beans and all sorts of grain, gold, smoke, mattressesand sewing machines…with this expanded lexiconkounellis begins to concoct more complex combinations, in an obvious attempt to tell us something.in his work ordinary materials and objects are imbued with dramatic power, evoking history, memory and the reality of our present day experience.

the consciousness of the metamorphosis of the painter into a poet seems to shimmer through in kounellis’ flirting with theatre and opera: as when he calls his ‘installations’ ‘one-acts’. the ‘one-icon-statements’ are replaced by veritable narrative installations. art critics and philosophers continue to stress the link of kounellis’ installations with the art of painting – ‘coals are to kounellis, what potatoes are to van gogh’.

jannis kounellis