Jannis Kounellis (Piraeus 1936 - Rome 2017) was based in Rome and was one of the world’s leading contemporary artists with a career spanning more than sixty years.
Kounellis' work is comprised of painting, collage, sculpture, installation work, performance and theatrical shows. After starting as a painter, in the 1960s Kounellis introduced the use of everyday material to his work - such as wool, coal, iron, stones, earth, wood and objets trouvés - as well as animals to create sculptures and installations. The use of antithetical media, such as raw material and objets trouvés, expresses the tension and alienation of our contemporary society. A contemporary society that on the one hand is built upon mass urban and industrial civilisation and on the other retains a link to traditional, primitive and individual values.
Since 1960 Kounellis exhibited all over the world and his works are part of major public collections: Tate Modern, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; MoMA and Guggenheim, New York among others. Recent solo exhibitions include his major retrospective at Fondazione Prada, Venice (2019); the Monnaie De Paris, Museo Espacio (2016); the Musée d'Art Moderne, Saint-Etienne (2014); MIMA, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern art; Parasol Unit, Foundation for Contemporary Art, London; Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens (2012); Today Art Museum, Beijing; National Centre for Contemporary Art, Moscow (2011); Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin (2007).
In October 2022, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis will open a major survey of the artist which will mark the biggest exhibition in North America dedicted to Kounellis since his death in 2017.