Kounellis, Jannis

Born in in 1936 at Piraeus in Greece, in 1956 Jannis Kounellis moved to Rome where he attended the Academy of Fine Arts. Even his earliest works reveal a desire to leave the “informal” movement and the post-war period behind in favour of a new visual idiom in which the archaic, the classical and the contemporary coexisted. Taking the linguist process he had undertaken to the extreme, in 1969 he exhibited 12 live horses along the walls of L’Attico gallery in Rome. Kounellis’s action was intended to denote the perimeter of what he considered to be a theatrical space in which a drama of his own making could be enacted. With these methods, after having contributed to the birth and development of Arte Povera, in recent years his work has defined with crucial incisiveness the link and the relationships with tradition and the popular epos.