Jannis Kounellis

Biography

Jannis Kounellis (b.1936-d.2017) was a Greek-Italian contemporary artist specializing in performance art and sculpture. World War II and a Greek Civil War shaped his childhood. He studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome starting in 1956 and joined the Arte Povera movement in 1960, which used what were considered humble materials to contrast elitist art at the time. Kounellis incorporated ‘found’ objects in his works including newspapers, street signs, fire and even live animals, such as in his performance piece in which he brought 12 live horses to a gallery in ‘Untitled (12 Hourses)' in 1969.

Recent exhibitions of his work have been held at the Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens, Greece (2012), the Museum of Contemporary Art, Herning, Denmark (2009), and the Neue National Galerie, Berlin, Germany (2007). His work can be found in many permanent collections including the Tate Gallery, London, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Kröller-Muller Museum, Otterlo, the Netherlands, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among others.