Jannis Kounellis

  • Wood, metal (lead, iron), paint, canvas
  • 80 x 600 x 320 cm
  • Courtesy Ram radioartemobile

One of the foundations of Jannis Kounellis' work is respect for humble materials as opposed to traditional marble or bronze. Grandmaster of the Arte Povera, he was keen to make sense of the objects that surround us in our daily lives and are full of history. Although most of his works are three-dimensional and use ready-made objects (sometimes even living objects, like horses, birds, or musicians), Kounellis has always insisted that he is primarily a painter. For him, each of the elements arranged in the exhibition space compete to convey a tragic tension. Generally, and maybe even more so when he created Deposizione in 2006, he conceives a dramatic space by showing the collective efforts of humanity in the face of the passage of time.

In the spaces of Radioartemobile in Rome, Jannis Kounellis clutters the space with a series of adjoining tables, covered with lead sheets. At the heart of the Hôtel de Ménoc, reworked for the first time since its creation, Kounellis's work is turned towards memory, to the history of this place, and echoes the mining activity of the city of Melle, whose lead production was estimated at 90,000 tonnes.

At the centre of the arrangement, the artist placed a bed base covered with a black cloth. If the bed is found many times in his work, it is because its surface is automatically associated with a specific format: the size of the man. "I am an old humanist, and for me man is an irreplaceable centre and an open frontier.”


From Tuesday to Sunday
From 11am to 1pm and from 2pm to 7pm

2 rue Emilien Traver


photo artiste Jannis Kounellis

Coats, chairs: everything at Kounellis refers to Man, the epicentre and measure of everything. Steel plates? They have the standard format of a mesh base. Often suspended, the objects underline the force of gravity linking man to the earth. Swords of Damocles, kitchen tools or weapons of crime, knives evoke the tragically daily violence of existence. Symbol of controlled fire and the industrial revolution, coal refers to humanity. The coats tied to each other? To solidarity.

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