born 1936, Piraeus, Greece.
died 2017, Rome, Italy
Jannis Kounellis studied in art college in Athens until 1956 and at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome. In 1963, the artist introduced found objects in his paintings, among them live animals but also fire, earth, burlap sacks, gold. He replaced the canvas with bed frames, doorways, windows or simply the gallery itself. In 1967, Kounellis joined the Arte Povera movement of Germano Celant. In 1969, he exhibited real horses in the galleria l’Attico. Gradually, Kounellis introduced new materials in his installations (propane torches, smoke, coal, meat, ground coffee, lead, found wooden objects, etc.). The gallery environment was replaced with historical (mostly industrial) sites.
Works by Kounellis are included in many international museum collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.