Jannis Kounellis

Jannis Kounellis, originally from Greece, resided in Rome and was prominent among the ‘Arte Povera’ Italian artists who worked with ‘poor’ and humble everyday materials, with beginnings in the 1960s. His paintings, drawings, sculptures and performances incorporated found objects, live animals, and elemental materials as an alternative to traditional artmaking practices. Street signs, burlap sacks, clothing, furniture, newspaper, birds, horses, fire, earth, copper, coffee, and hemp rope appeared in his work. At times he used the interior architecture of a space as a stage, where art and reality would merge theatrically to suspend disbelief. Along with the Arte Povera artists, he was influenced by the writer Umberto Eco’s regard of the artwork as an ‘open field’ wherein meaning is created through dissimilar elements and actions, and their contextual approach to the individual viewer.