The directors of Blain|Southern are delighted to present an exhibition of new and recent works by Jannis Kounellis. Renowned for his pivotal role in the development of the Arte Povera movement in the 1960s, over the last 50 years Kounellis has continued to redefine artistic practice through his original use of materials.
His works, a mixture of painting, collages, installations, ‘environments’, performances and theatrical shows, are made of everyday materials, such as soil, coal, stones, sacks, fire, live animals, bed frames and doorways, as well as objets trouvés. These are imbued with dramatic power, evoking history, memory and the reality of our present day experience, expressing the underlying tensions within contemporary society, and the multiplicity and fragmentation of its language.
In this century Kounellis has developed an increasingly architectural vocabulary, typified by the labyrinth he constructed in the main hall of Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie for his 2008 retrospective. Working in dialogue with the Mies van der Rohe designed building, the structure served as a complete environment in which to exhibit examples of his earlier works. His exhibition at Blain|Southern will be in a similar vein, with sculptural installations that respond to the gallery’s vast, post-industrial space.