Jannis Kounellis

Jannis Kounellis Un'opera per ricordare - A work to remind Chiesa di San Paolo Cattaro

Monday 6 October at 6.30 pm, in the Church of St. Paul in the city of Kotor, in Montenegro, the exhibition A Work to Remember / A work to Remind, by Ludovico Pratesi, which presents the work of Jannis Kounellis from the title Untitled (Sails).

The exhibition is organized by the Università Popolare di Trieste, with the support of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the Italian Union, the Embassy of Italy in Montenegro, the Italian Community in Montenegro and the City of Cattaro in the of the Cultural Program of the Italian Presidency of the European Union and is inspired by the idea of ​​integration of the Italian communities present in Montenegro, reconnecting with the story of the last flag of the Republic of Venice, preserved in the cathedral of Perasto since 1797.

To remember the high value of that symbol, the Italian artist of Greek origin Jannis Kounellis, a fundamental figure of Arte Povera and internationally renowned teacher was invited to realize an emblematic intervention inside the ancient church of San Paolo in the historical center of Kotor, now Unesco World Heritage, which on the occasion of the exhibition is inaugurated as a new center of art and culture, after recent restoration works.

Kounellis exhibits the work Untitled (Sails), presented for the first time at the Venice Biennale in 1993. It is an installation composed of a group of nine ancient sails used by Mediterranean sailors, which evoke the idea of sea ​​and integration between peoples: the artist recounts through the use of strongly bodily and physical materials the experiential and concrete experience of those who interpret and act around the sea.

His works express the strength coming from an existence led by marine currents, through the recovery of materials, instruments and devices, physical and ideal, capable of evoking the power, the sacrifice and the richness of life at sea.

No contemporary living artist has told the culture of the sea as Kounellis, for whom the ideal coming from the evocations of the seascape represents an imaginary determined by its Greek origins, through a journey on the theme of the sea that the artist has been covering for decades works, constantly tracing a parallel binomial between the collective suggestions that derive from it and the personal suggestions, based on the experience of the individual.
Kounellis is therefore an exceptional testimonial to illustrate the epic vocation of the Mediterranean inland seas. A new Ulysses of the Twenty-first Century, able to evoke, with a few works that can also be read by the general public and dense with aesthetic, literary, poetic and philosophical suggestions.

Short biographical notes

Born in 1936 in Piraeus, Kounellis moves away from his native country to just twenty years to complete his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome. He thus moves Italy to his second homeland. His public debut dates back to 1960, with his first solo show at the Roman gallery La Tartaruga. The first exhibitions ideologically close to the Arte Povera movement date back to 1967, in which the use of products and materials in common use suggested a radically creative, mythical function for art, devoid of concessions to mere representation. The references to the Greek nature of its origins are also evident. His installations become real scenographies that physically occupy the gallery and surround the spectator making him a leading actor. In 1969, at L'Attico di Roma, he exhibited the Horses, hooked to the rope like paintings on the wall. The installation, indistinct by the performance, contemplates the extemporaneousness and the evanescence of the creative act with the cumbersome, heavy, embarrassing presence of the animals. Recent personal exhibitions include: 2014 Giovanni Anselmo / Jannis Kounellis - Rooms # 1, ISO - Museum of Contemporary Art - Palazzo Belmonte Riso; Jannis Kounellis, Almine Rech Gallery, Brussels, Belgium. 2013 Jannis Kounellis, City Art Gallery, Ljubljana, Slovenia; Jannis Kounellis, Salone Degli Incanti, ex fishmonger, Trieste, Italy; Jannis Kounellis, Cheim & Read, New York; Jannis Kounellis, Galleri Artist, Istanbul, Turkey; Jannis Kounellis, curated by Bruno Corá, Giacomo Guidi Arte Contemporanea, Rome; Kounellis: Trieste, Galerie Lelong, Paris.