Jannis Kounellis (Greek, b.1936) is a performance artist and sculptor associated with the Arte Povera movement. He attended college in Athens before traveling to Rome in 1956 and enrolling at the Academy of Arts. His earliest works experimented with stenciled numbers, letters, and words on canvas, eventually incorporating found objects and staging performances that reflected his ideas about society and politics.

In 1967, he became associated with Arte Povera, a movement dedicated to attacking the established norms of government, industry, and culture. During this time, Kounellis increasingly created works that juxtaposed disparate materials, including stone, cotton, coal, bed-frames, and doors.

Kounellis has participated in numerous international exhibitions, including the Paris Biennale, Documenta, the Venice Biennale, the Istanbul Biennial, and the Sydney Biennale. His work is also included in prestigious public collections, such as the Tate Gallery in London, UK; the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain and New York, NY; The Museum of Modern Art in New York, NY; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C.; and the Musèe National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, France.

He lives and works in Rome.

Timeline

1936
Born in Piraeus, Greece
1956
Enrolled at the Academy of Arts in Rome, Italy

Exhibitions

2013
Jannis Kounellis, Galleri Artist, Istanbul, Turkey (solo)
2013
Jannis Kounellis, Cheim & Reid, New York, NY (solo)
2013
Un dialogo tra due opere, with Bizhan Bassiri, Biblioteca Angelica, Rome
2013
Fragile?, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice, Italy
2012
Arte Povera: The great awakening, Kunstmuseum Basel, Basel, Switzerland
2011–2012
Schönheit und Vergänglichkeit, Sammlung Essl, Klosterneuburg, Austria
2011–2012
Jannis Kounellis, Museum Kurhaus Kleve - Ewald Mataré-Sammlung Kleve, Kleve, Germany (solo)
2011
3rd Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art, State Museum of Contemporary Art - Thessaloniki, Greece
2011
The Last Grand Tour, Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens, Greece
2011
Zettels Traum, Von der Heydt Museum, Wuppertal, Germany
2011
Che fare? Arte povera. Die historischen Jahre, Lentos Kunstmuseum, Linz, Austria
2011
Islands never found, Musée d´Art Moderne, Saint-Etienne, France
2011
Galerie Karsten Greve, Paris (solo)
2010–2011
Socle du Monde 2010, Between Cultures, Herning Kunstmuseum, Denmark
2010–2011
The Private Museum, Galleria d´Arte Moderna, Bergamo, Italy
2010–2011
Noli me tangere! Berühre mich nicht / Halte mich nicht fest, Kolumba Kunstmuseum, Cologne
2010
Jannis Kounellis: Domingo Ultimo Dia!, Matadero Madrid (solo)
2010
St. Moritz Art Masters 2010, Kult oder Kunst, St. Moritz Art Masters, Switzerland
2010
Islands Never Found, State Museum of Contemporary Art - Thessaloniki, Greece
2010
Che Fare? Arte povera - The historic years, Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Vaduz, Liechtenstein
2010
Forms of Contingency: New York and Turin, 1960s-1970s, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, USA
2010
All art has been contemporary, Kunsthalle Hamburg, ,Hamburg, Germany
2010
Gipfeltreffen der Moderne - Das Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Museum der Moderne Salzburg, Austria
2010
PressArt. Die Sammlung Annette und Peter Nobel, Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, Switzerland
2010
Modern Times: responding to chaos, Kettle´s Yard, Cambridge, Great Britain
2009–2010
Jannis Kounellis. Freedom or death – La libertà o morte, Heart Herning Museum of Contemporary Art, Herning, Denmark (solo)
2009
1968. Die große Unschuld, Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Germany (group)
2009
Gegen den Strich. 15 Jahre Sammlung des Kunstmuseums Wolfsburg, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany (group)
2009
Jannis Kounellis, Galleria Fumagalli, Bergamo, Italy (solo)
2009
Jannis Kounellis, Alfonso Artiaco, Napoli, Italy (solo)
2009
Installation in the church SS.Apostoli, Roma, Italy
2009
Matadero, Madrid, Spain (solo)
2009
Freedom or Death, HEART Herning Museum of Contemporary Art, Herning, Denmark (solo)
2009
Galerie Elisabeth & Klaus Thoman, Innsbruck, Austria (solo)
2008
Jannis Kounellis: The Gospel According to Thomas, Kewenig Galerie, Cologne, Germany (solo)
2008
Galerie Christian Stein, Milan, Italy (solo)
2008
Galleria Progetti, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (solo)
2008
Galerie Lelong, Zürich, Switzerland (solo)
2007
Akira Ikeda Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
2007
Cheim & Read Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
2007
Jannis Kounellis. Das Thomas Evangelium, Bank im Bistum Essen EG and Hypothekenbank Essen, Essen, Germany (solo)
2007
Jannis Kounellis. La storia e il presente, Galleria Nazionale di Palazzo Arnone, Cosenza, Italy (solo)
2007
Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin, Germany (solo)
2006
Jannis Kounellis. Atto Unico, La Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro, Milan (solo)
2006
Jannis Kounellis, Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Vaduz, Liechtenstein (solo)
2006
Where Are We Going? Opere scelte dalla Collezione Francois Pinault, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, Italy
2006
Corrispondenze. Dal presente al pasato, Centro per l'arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato, Italy
2005
Edinburgh College of Art und Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, UK (solo)
2005
Jannis Kounellis. Opus I, Albertina, Wien and Musée d'Art Moderne de Saint-Etienne Métropole, Saint-Etienne, France (solo)
2005
Italian Art 1950-1970. Masterpieces from the Farnesina Collection, National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, India
2005
Arte Povera, Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Toyota, Japan
2005
Atto Primo and Atto Secondo. La Collezione, MADRE Museo d'Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina, Naples, Italy
2005
Kounellis, Galerie Karsten Greve, Paris, France (solo)
2004
Jannis Kounellis. New Works, Sprovieri, London, UK (solo)
2004
Kounellis in Sarajevo, Ars Aevi Forum, Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina (solo)
2004
National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece (solo)
2004
Kounellis, Galerie Karsten Greve, Cologne, Germany (solo)
2004
Immendorf Kounellis, Villa Massimo, Rome, Italy
2004
Shanghai Art Museum: Encounters with Modernism, Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art, Amsterdam, Netherlands
2004
Works and Days, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark
2004
Photo Image in American Prints: 1960s-1990s, Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, San Francisco, USA
2003
Jannis Kounellis at St. John's Church, St. John's Church (Herning Kunstmuseum), Herning, Denmark (solo)
2003
Jannis Kounellis, Torrione Passari, Molfetta, Italy (solo)
2003
Jannis Kounellis, Monastero Mechitarista, Isola di San Lazzaro degli Armeni, Venice, Italy (solo)
2003
Jannis Kounellis, Palais de l’Unesco, Paris, France (solo)
2003
Kunstraum Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria (solo)
2002
Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Rome, Italy (solo)
2002
Senza Titolo…, Hallen für Neue Kunst, Schaffhausen, Switzerland (solo)
2002
Jannis Kounellis, Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Gent, Belgium (solo)
2002
Opening of stazione Dante, subway, Naples, Italy (solo)
2001
Galerie Karsten Greve, Cologne, Germany (solo)
2001
Centro per l'Arte Contemporanea, Prato, Italy (solo)
2001
Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales, Montevideo, Uruguay (solo)
2001
Bottini dell’Olio, Livorno, Italy (solo)
2001
Kunststation St. Peter, Cologne, Germany (solo)
2001
Galerie Karsten Greve, Paris, France (solo)
2001
Notturno tenebroso, Diözesanmuseum, Freising, Germany (solo)
2001
Kounellis, Prato, Gli Ori, Italy
2000
Jannis Kounellis en Mexico, Chiesa di San Auguitin, Citta del Messico, Mexico
1999
Jannis Kounellis. II Sarcofago degli Sposi, Osterreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst, Vienna, Austria
1998
Jannis Kounellis, via monte di Tappia, Naples, Italy
1998
Kounellis, Galerie Leiong, Paris, France
1998
Alfredo Pirri, Jannis Kounellis Bernhard Rudiger, Volume!, Rome, Italy
1997
Kounellis, Refettorio delle Stelline, Milan, Italy
1997
Jannis Kounellis. Die Front, das Denken, der Sturm, Museum Ludwig in der Halle Kalk, Cologne, Germany
1996
Kounellis, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain
1996
Kounellis, Castelluccio di Pienza - La Foce, Siena, Italy
1996
Jannis Kounellis, Galleria Bernd Kluser, Monaco
1996
Jannis Kounellis. La Balera, Galleria Loza Koper, Capodistria, Italy
1995
Kounellis, Salara, Bologna, Italy
1995
Jannis Kounellis, Chateau de Plieux, Plieux, France
1995
Jannis Kounellis. Die eiserne Runde, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, Germany
1994
Kounellis. Fumo di pietra, Galerie Leiong, Chatellerault, France
1993
Jannis Kounellis, Lineare notturno, Ruhrfestspiele Recklinghausen, Kunsthalle, Recklinghausen, Germany
1993
Jannis Kounellis, Belvedere, Castello, Prague, Czech Republic
1992
Jannis Kounellis, Cimitero di Mercatello sul Metauro, Italy
1992
Kounellis, Padiglione d'Arte Contemporanea, Milan, Italy
1992
Kounellis, La commedia dell'arte, Lucio Amelio s.r.L, Naples, Italy
1991
Kounellis - Frammenti di Memoria, Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hannover, Kunst Museum, Winterthur, Switzerland
1991
Kounellis, Casa Centrale degli Artisti, Nuova Tretjakov, Moscow, Russia
1991
Kounellis, Galerie Leiong, Zurich, Switzerland
1991
Jannis Kounellis, Synagoge Stommein, Pulheim, Germany
1990
Kounellis, Museo di Capodimonte, Naples, Italy
1990
Kounellis, Espai Poblenou, Barcelona, Spain
1990
Kounellis, Via del mare, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
1990
La stanza vede, Haags Gemeentemuseum, Den Haag, Netherlands

Literature

2007
Jannis Kounellis, ed. by Bruno Corà, Edizioni 'Il Ponte' Firenze, Florenz 2007
2006
Jannis Kounellis, MADRE Museo d'Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina Napoli, Mailand 2006
2004
Jannis Kounellis, ed. by Gloria Moure, Electa, Mailand, 2004
2003
Jannis Kounellis, ed. by Stephen Bann, Itineraries, London, 2003
2003
Kounellis, Labirinti, ed. by Bruno Corà, Gli Ori, 2003
2002
Kounellis, Das Thomas Evangelium, Har-El Printers&Publishers, Jaffa, 2002
2001
Kounellis, Works, Writings 1958-2000 - Editions Poligrafa
1991
Gloria Moure, Kounellis - Editions Cercle d'Art
1990
Kounellis, Odyssée lagunaire - Daniel Lelong éditeur