Jannis Kounellis | ITSLIQUID

Jannis Kounellis

Art | December 7, 2021 |

Lgg Paris 2021 Kounellis 01
Image courtesy of Lévy Gorvy

Jannis Kounellis
Lévy Gorvy, Paris
November 27, 2021 – January 15, 2022

Lévy Gorvy is delighted to announce an exhibition devoted to the multifaceted work of Arte Povera artist Jannis Kounellis. Born in Greece in 1936, Kounellis moved to Italy at the age of 20 and enrolled in Rome’s prestigious Accademia di Belle Arti. He quickly became ensconced in the Italian avant-garde art scene, earning his first solo exhibition at age 24 at the leading Galleria la Tartaruga in Rome. There he debuted his Alfabeto works, a series inspired by the stark, abstract linework of Jackson Pollock and Franz Kline. With these cyphers of stenciled letters, numbers, and symbols, Kounellis aimed to push painting to new graphic and anti-illusionistic heights. Lévy Gorvy is pleased to present four important works from this period.

Lgg Paris 2021 Kounellis 02
Image courtesy of Lévy Gorvy

Made just as Pop and Conceptual Art began to sweep Europe, these paintings positioned Kounellis at the forefront of innovation, experimenting with new aesthetics and techniques that would, in a few short years, put contemporary Italian art on the map. By the mid-1960s Kounellis’s artistic repertoire had expanded to three dimensions, incorporating unorthodox components – everything from live horses to overflowing sacks of beans and grains – in an attempt to engage the viewer’s senses and disrupt the traditionally static gallery experience. This work drew the interest of international curator Germano Celant, who included Kounellis in his groundbreaking exhibition Arte povera – Im spazio at Genoa’s Galleria la Bertesca in 1967.

Lgg Paris 2021 Kounellis 06
Image courtesy of Lévy Gorvy

The show marked Kounellis as a leader of Arte Povera, a movement predicated on reestablishing connections between art and the world at large, often by turning to the elemental underpinnings of everyday life. In Kounellis’s practice, materials with deeply historical associations came to the forefront, enlivened in poetic juxtapositions that sought to transcend the barriers of pedestals and frames. Lévy Gorvy’s curation includes Untitled (1969) – a significant early sculpture composed of a cantilever of measuring scales, each bearing a small, fragrant pile of coffee grounds. Marking one of Kounellis’s first uses of coffee, Untitled (1969) underscores the comfort, ritual, commerce, and culture found behind the most quotidian of materials.

Lgg Paris 2021 Kounellis 09
Image courtesy of Lévy Gorvy

Kounellis created the present assemblage for his 1969 exhibition at gallerist Lucio Amelio’s Modern Art Agency – other versions of the work are owned by the Centre Pompidou, Paris, and the Kunstmuseen Krefeld. Later, it would inspire site-specific installations of multiple similar constructions, for example at the Mestna galerija, Ljubljana, Slovenia (2013) and the Milan Triennial (2015), among other places. Kounellis spent the rest of his career devising new ways to activate our senses and challenge our preconceptions. While the admixture of unusual materials in his early works often produced a feeling of calm and balance, his later works contrast elements to cultivate a sense of disruption and unease. Heavy or sharp objects-fencing, knives, machinery – are often perched, piled, or precariously placed alongside delicate materials like clothing, sacks, and hair.

Kounellis Untitled 1959 I Renamed 30063
Image courtesy of Lévy Gorvy

Scissors and sewing machines, once tools for creation, are rendered inert behind glass. Untitled(2006), composed of four large workman’s tables and seven bronze bells, demonstrates the power such pairings continued to hold in parallel with Kounellis’s large-scale installations. Though steadfastly silent, the echoes of the industrious work once performed at the tables and the exuberant notes once rung by the bells remain. Lévy Gorvy’s presentation spotlights these and numerous other paintings, sculptures, and assemblages to convey the richness and depth of artist Jannis Kounellis’s storied half century-long career.

more. www.levygorvy.com

Kounellis Untitled 1960 Lg 11882 21 3
Image courtesy of Lévy Gorvy
Kounellis Untitled 1961 I 1
Image courtesy of Lévy Gorvy

Are you an artist, architect, designer? Would you like to be featured on ITSLIQUID platform? Send an e-mail to info@itsliquid.com or fill the form below


    Damien Hirst: To Live Forever…

    Art | July 15, 2024

    Museo Jumex will present To Live Forever (For a While), a museum-wide exhibition celebrating the work of leading British artist Damien Hirst. The exhibition will be the artist’s first exhibition presented by a museum in Mexico and will be the centerpiece of the museum’s 10th anniversary celebration. Read more


    Art | July 14, 2024

    Prada presents the exhibition "Miranda July: F.A.M.I.L.Y.", organized with the support of Fondazione Prada, at Prada Aoyama Tokyo from 9 May to 26 August 2024. Read more


    Art | July 13, 2024

    Radical investigations of the human body and how we perceive it characterize the distinct sculptural practices of Giacometti, Nauman, and Picasso, who are widely regarded as defining figures of their respective generations. From the modernist preoccupation with the fragmented or disintegrated body typical of Picasso’s and Giacometti’s work to the postmodern expansion of sculpture into a range of environmental and anti-monumental forms exemplified by Nauman’s, this is the first exhibition to juxtapose sculptures by these three artists. Read more


    Art | July 12, 2024

    Jessica Guo finds inspiration in the often-overlooked objects of everyday life, collecting and documenting items of mediocrity and triviality. Her work emphasizes the timeless elegance and enduring charm of these objects, creating a harmonious balance and peaceful moments. Read more

    Sign up for our Newsletter.

    Enter your email to receive our latest updates!