Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Jannis Kounellis


Jannis Kounellis at Cycladic Art Museum

Jannis Kounellis exhibits a new and site specific work at the Museum of Cycladic Art. It is the first solo exhibition in Greece after many years, housed at the Stathatos Mansion, the neoclassical wing of the Museum.

Jannis Kounellis, whose contribution to the international art movement of Arte Povera has been defining, left Greece very young to leave behind the trauma of the civil war. He now returns to create a work amidst the economic and social crisis that Greece is currently going through. Kounellis's installation can only be a response to this turmoil, as he puts it, “at this particular moment it would be impossible to have just an exhibition of art in Greece”.

For his exhibition at the Museum of Cycladic Art, Kounellis uses materials found in the local Athenian markets and junkyards.
These objects carry the history of the place, of a city that has been through endless changes of populations, ideologies, and levels of prosperity and in the last few years some very extreme changes.
 Kounellis uses newspapers, coal, burlap sacks, old shoes and glasses, overcoats, soil and iron bars for this pieces, which are spread in the spaces of the neoclassical building.

The same objects carry personal memories and they can be symbols of desires and hope but also of failed dreams and aspirations.
In Kounellis’s work the personal history and the history of the place, the city, are equally important. The black overcoats that appear repeatedly in his work can represent the artist, the viewer, but also the ‘little guy’,
Chaplin’s tramp of our times, who gets trampled over while societies change. The works might reflect current problems but as always in Kounellis’s works, even though the objects have their own history, they are incorporated in his installations in such a way that in the end they become universal, ancient and modern.

A few words on the artist
Born in Piraeus, Greece in 1936, Kounellis moved to Rome in 1956 and is now considered as one of the most important artists of the Arte Povera movement.
Αs coined by curator Germano Celant, the term Arte Povera refers to the humble materials that Kounellis and others such as Boetti, Calzolari and Merz used in their work. Arte Povera was not a group of artists using a certain style; what the artists had in common was the open-ended experimentation, working outside formal limitations.
The Arte Povera term did not refer to impoverished materials, but to art made without restraints, with found objects.        [ more ]
Until 08.10.2012

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