Jannis Kounellis

12.06.2012 -

Jannis Kounellis is one of the most important representatives of Arte Povera and became famous for his monumental room installations, which he has been designing for over 50 years.

For the four wings of the cloister of the Romanesque building in the Magdeburg Art Museum, he arranged a huge symphony made of large canvas-covered steel plates. Based on collective memory images of European culture, a cosmos emerges from many details and sequences, a very unique composition of the world. The four 30 m long walls of the cloister wings represent four parts of a whole, four temperaments, four ages.

In addition to the well-known materials in his work, fire, coal, steel and mantle, a new theme that has been created since 2010 becomes the starting point of the installation: painting. Kounellis uses coats soaked in tar as a brush for the large-format tar pictures. Between compact surfaces and light compositions of the tar-blackened forms on the canvases, a multitude of variations of a theme emerges, which ultimately revolves around the statement that determines everything for him: “I am a painter. Painting means image of life. That is why in painting it is not the craftsmanship that counts, but life - dealing with architecture, with space, with reality. Today we live in a society that consists only of fragments. There is no longer a precise view of the world, as if painted in oil. The drama of the disintegration of the world into fragments, that is my theme." (Kounellis, 1996)

Jannis Kounellis is one of the most influential contemporary artists in Europe. Arte Povera is inextricably linked with him.

Jannis Kounellis, born in 1936 in Piraeus / Greece, has lived and worked in Rome since 1956. From 1993 to 2001 he was a professor at the Düsseldorf Art Academy. He died in 2017. His works can be found in all major museums in the world.



Jannis Kounellis
Edited by Annegret Laabs, 2012
Texts germ./engl.: Rudi Fuchs, Jannis Kounellis, Annegret Laabs
Translation: Anja Reutter, Nikolas G. Schneider
36 p., numerous illustrations, Softcover
jovis Verlag
ISBN 978-386859-206-1
12.95 Euro