JANNIS KOUNELLIS 'EARLY PAINTINGS' AT GALERIE KARSTEN GREVE
'In this first corpus of mature works, the Greek artist, who lives in Rome, shows the precursory signs of his key attachment to the revolutionary movement Arte Povera, the first important Italian movement after 1945. Stifled in a cultural context that was strongly anchored in and influenced by Antiquity and academia and distinguishing itself from American Abstract Expressionism and the Informal European movement, Arte Povera advocated total liberation from the grandeur and elitism of art. In practice it involved banning all traditionally precious and prestigious supports, genres and materials of figurative art and to no longer refer to reality but to work with it directly. Creating situations rather than objects, Kounellis used odours, sounds and ‘poor’ materials like wool, coal, iron, clay, plants, wood, flame or living animals. The roots of this desire to trouble and upset the spectator’s expectations in the face of a very familiar genre is astonishingly present in the artist’s first paintings, throwing into question the most classic form of art, painting, right from the beginning.'
JANNIS KOUNELLIS 'Early Paintings' September 3 - October 8, 2011