KOUNELLIS – Jannis
(March 23rd, 1936 – February 16th, 2017)
It is with profound sadness that we mourn the passing of one of the greatest and most inspirational Artists of the 20th Century. Jannis explored the space between Art and Life and broke the boundaries of tradition. His revolutionary work remains an authentic and poetic expression of the world around him.
Arte & Libertà! W KOUNELLIS!
–Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu
The earth, plants, animals wool, charcoal, iron, fire, wood, lead. And so, in original and poetic fashion, with a fragrant language, suspended amidst whispers and echoes of distant images, Kounellis succeeded in bringing life into art, but also art into life. No longer reality in place of fiction, but a single great theater where everything happens contemporaneously, where things tell of themselves and their own culture, where words are never abstract but always incarnated in the bodies and stories of the actors. Now that this time seems to have come to an end with an unexpected turn of events, it helps to stop and think that, more than any other message, the figure and work of Kounellis will always remain on the world stage, bearing witness to the knowledge of an authentic cultural identity, the ethics of an ancient language and the expressive force of a modern way of thinking lived to the fullest. Biographical fact notwithstanding, an artist like this is not destined to die.
– Eduardo Cicelyn
Monday February 20th at 11:30 AM
Basilica di Santa Maria in Montesanto
Via del Babuino 198, Piazza del Popolo,
00187 Roma, Italy
Jannis Kounellis was born in Piraeus, Greece in 1936. He studied art in Athens until 1956 and then at the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Rome, where he permanently moved in 1956.
In 1960 he had his first solo show at La Tartaruga Art Gallery in Rome. Here, after a period of only exhibiting painting, he first presented works featuring found sculptural objects such as actual street signs. This newfound convergence of painting, sculpture, and performance was Kounellis’ way out of traditional art.
In 1972 he participated for the first time in the Venice Biennale.
His work has become integral to numerous renowned, international museums’ collections and has been exhibited all over the world, including Europe, the USA and South America.