Kounellis Jannis

Kounellis Jannis

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Jannis Kounellis was born in Greece in 1936. Painter and sculptor, he is the best-known artist internationally of poor art movement. Rejected by the Academy of Art in Athens at the age of twenty he moved to Rome where he attended the Academy of Fine Arts. Get in touch with the expressionist art of Toti Scialoja, by which he is strongly influenced. In his first paintings he painted letters and numbers or stylized natural elements. Since 1967 he began creating works with natural materials with clear references to his Greek origins. In the same year he participated in the collective exhibition Fire, image, water and earth, which marks a change in the art of the time: for the first time natural elements become part of a work of art. Kounellis presents Margherita di Fuoco, an iron daisy that emits fire from the central part through a cylinder, a synthesis between antiquity and modernity. In his works he uses arte povera materials such as stones, empty or grain bags, iron, lamps, but also live people and animals. The 1969 work in which, in the gallery The Attic of Rome, ties twelve horses to the walls, symbol of an ideal clash between nature and culture. Starting from the Seventies, the progressive end of Arte Povera created in the artist a sense of controversy and disenchantment which he expressed through his work. Closed door in which he uses stones, soot and bags of coal. At the end of the 1970s he began his work on stuffed animals as a symbol of disenchantment and from the 1990s on monumental sculptures, such as the Offertory in Piazza del Plebiscito in Naples. He passed away at the age of 80.


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