b. Piraeus, Greece, 16 March 1936 – d. Rome, Italy, 16 February 2017
Greek-born Jannis Kounellis settled in Rome in 1956 to attend the Accademia di Belle Arti. In 1967, his work was selected for the founding exhibition of the Arte Povera movement, of which he was to become one of the principal figures. Kounellis relied primarily on natural materials (charcoal, fire, wool, stone, wood, coffee) and found objects (bed frames, doors, windows) to compose his monumental installations and murals. His radical artistic proposals refute the superficial nature of art and, in particular, raise questions about the dialogue between nature and sculpture.
In 2015, Kounellis represented Italy at the 56th Venice Biennale. His work has been the focus of major exhibitions at the Musée d’Art moderne in Paris (1980), the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago (1986), the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (1991), and the Monnaie de Paris (2016).