Jannis Kounellis”, curated by Germano Celant, is the major retrospective dedicated to the artist following his death in 2017. Developed in collaboration with Archivio Kounellis, the project brings together more 60 works from 1959 to 2015, from both Italian and international museums , as well as from important private collections both in Italy and abroad. The show explores the artistic and exhibition history of Jannis Kounellis (Piraeus 1936 – Rome 2017), establishing a dialogue between his works and the eighteenth-century spaces of Ca’ Corner della Regina.
The artist’s early works, originally exhibited between 1960 and 1966, deal with urban language. These paintings reproduce actual writings and signs from the streets of Rome. Later on, the artist transferred black letters, arrows and numbers onto white canvases, paper or other surfaces, in a language deconstruction that expresses a fragmentation of the real. From 1964 onward, Kounellis addressed subjects taken from nature, from sunsets to roses. In 1967 Kounellis’ investigation turned more radical, embracing concrete and natural elements including birds, soil, cacti, wool, coal, cotton, and fire.