OXFORD, UK.- This December, Italian artist Jannis Kounellis, a major figure in contemporary art for over forty years, will create a unique installation of new and earlier works, specially conceived for the gallery spaces at Modern Art Oxford. It will be his first solo exhibition in a UK public gallery for more than ten years.
Poetic and deeply stirring, the paintings, sculptures and carefully staged installations of Jannis Kounellis evoke shared experiences of people, places and history. His signature materials of steel, cotton, coal, coffee, wood, stones, burlap sacks and gas lamps, form the basis of an artistic language developed by Kounellis since the 1960s.
Recent interventions, both in 2004, includes a steel labyrinth at the EMST Museum in Athens and a major installation in the interior of Sarajevo's National Library, bombed during the war in Yugoslavia, in which Kounellis blocked the library's hexagonal Byzantine structure with walls of books.
At Modern Art Oxford, Kounellis will create a stunning new work for the upper gallery.
Earlier works, from the 1960s to the 1990s, will be presented in the Gallery's four other spaces.
The exhibition is curated by Suzanne Cotter and Andrew Nairne. A fully illustrated publication featuring new essays by Suzanne Cotter, Andrew Nairne and Art Historian Adachiara Zevi accompanies the exhibition.
Jannis Kounellis was born in 1936 in Piraeus, Greece. From 1956 he has lived and worked in Rome. Associated with the Arte Povera (literally 'poor art') group of artists in Italy in the 1960s, he has gone on to exhibit his work throughout the world. Included among Kounellis's many solo exhibitions internationally are retrospectives at the Musée d'art moderne de la ville de Paris (1980); Whitechapel Art Gallery (1982); Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1986); and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (1996). Group exhibitions include Arte Povera e IM spazio, Galleria La Bertesca, Genoa (1967), curated by Germano Celant, When Attitudes Become Form, Kunsthalle, Bern, the groundbreaking exhibition curated by Harald Szeeman in 1969; Documenta V, Kassel (1972); Italian Art in the Twentieth Century, Royal Academy, London (1989); and Zero to Infinity: Arte Povera 1962-1972, Tate Modern (2001).
Jannis Kounellis has been made possible by the bequest of the Estate of Tom Bendham.
Generously supported by The Henry Moore Foundation and The Italian Cultural Institute.