This exhibition is the first comprehensive survey in Mexico of Jannis Kounellis (Greece, 1936-Italy, 2017) who played a central role in the Italian Arte Povera movement of the 1960s and early 1970s, and has had a broad influence on subsequent generations of artists around the world. The exhibition, which includes some 50 works, offers the most extensive assessment of his career to date. The show revisits Kounellis’s innovative practice through key stages of his trajectory, examining both iconic works and pieces rarely or never-before seen.
Though his art is mostly defined by sculpture, installation, and performance, Kounellis nonetheless referred to his works as paintings, even as his art has sought to break down and transcend the medium’s boundaries. “Everything I do is painting, even if I don’t touch a brush,” he said. “I tell my truth as a painter.” The exhibition Jannis Kounellis in Six Acts and its accompanying catalogue present the artist in the way he wanted to be seen—through a consideration of his work as an expansive and deep analysis of painting as a medium.
Also included are sculptural projects that show Kounellis’s deep relationship to history through his poetic use of found items—fragments of classical sculpture, furniture, and objects or natural materials—presented in carefully composed groupings. The exhibition culminates with several large-scale installations based on experiences of memory and the senses.
Organized by the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and Museo Jumex, Mexico City. Curators: Vincenzo de Bellis, Curator and Associate Director of Programs, Visual Arts, Walker Art Center; and Kit Hammonds, Chief Curator at Museo Jumex, Mexico City; with Cindy Peña, Curatorial Assistant, Museo Jumex.
Image: Jannis Kounellis, Untitled, 1972. The Sonnabend Collection Foundation. Image Courtesy of Estate of Jannis Kounellis. Photo: Claudio Abate