Jannis Kounellis - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Friday, October 12, 2007 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Private collection, Switzerland

  • Exhibited

    Cologne, Galerie Karsten Greve, Jannis Kounellis - Ausgewählte Arbeiten, April 23 – July 17, 1999; Cologne, Galerie Karsten Greve, Jannis Kounellis: Bilder 1958-1968 & ausgewählte Objekte 1968-2000, March 16 – May 31, 2001; Cologne, Galerie Karsten Greve, Accochage, March 16 - May 31, 2001

  • Catalogue Essay

    "As long as there are artists, art is essential. Because, where else will you find that unflinching look at things? It’s very difficult. The artist is a thinker who paints."
    (J. Kounellis in 'Man and Myth', in Flash Art, Issue 242, February - March, 2007)

    Jannis Kounellis became associated with the Italian Arte Povera movement in the late 1960s; a period of major political change and industrialisation. The artists of the Arte Povera movement became known for their use of industrial materials and "objets trouves" in their work. For many, these were an expression of their political and historical concerns, which for Kounellis manifested itself in a powerful undercurrent of social scrutiny. Believing that traditional art modes, such as sculpture and painting were no longer sufficient to depict contemporary culture and society, the artist began using industrial materials such as wood, steel, wax and "objets trouves" to visualise the dialogue between nature and industry. Kounellis therefore dissociated his work from the restraints of more conventional art forms and spaces, freeing his painting from the confines of an easel.

    The present lot is an arresting work; the size of the canvas representative of a vast cultural landscape. Intense colour fades into darkness and is simultaneously eclipsed with the illusion of light. The metal rods and gas burners stretch right across the piece as if a unifying factor, yet their stark appearance and sharp ends lend them an aggressive air: this effect is further heightened by their position on the canvas, as the sharp rods stick out off the edges. Kounellis’ Untitled work is significant, acting as a "sculptural painting" that encompasses both painterly qualities of a surface and sculptural materials, allowing the fusion of style to act as a metaphor for the disjointed social climate at the time.



Steel, iron, lead and gasburner.
78 3/4 x 164 1/2 in. (200 x 417.8 cm).

£120,000 - 180,000 ‡♠

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

Evening Sale
13 October 2007, 4pm