Jannis Kounellis

Jannis Kounellis, Untitled, 1993, charcoal, sacks, and steel, Collection National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens (EMST), installation view, ANTIDORON. The EMST Collection, Fridericianum, Kassel, photo: Jasper Kettner

It is the truth of the sea itself in a single museum space. It is the transfusion of one space with another. This idea, which has clearly preoccupied Kounellis in the whole of his work, enabling him to make compositions “from life” out of the impoverished but tangible reality of a jacket, a lump of charcoal, an old piece of wood, a stone, a plaster copy of an ancient head, and so on, leads him to create real pictures—as if he had abandoned easel painting only to return to it by putting a frame around reality itself in order to create his “painting.”

The same painterly request, in dramatic dialogues and questions, in poetic and subversive acts, in enforced strategies of defense and attack, led him to his last and most important maritime station: the Piraeus exhibition in 1994.

—Katerina Koskina, excerpt from “Cargo Vessel Ionion, Piraeus, Athens, 1994,” in Kounellis—Mistral (Bergamo: Edizione Bolis, 1996)

Posted in Public Exhibition