Untitled, 2000

Basel 2019
Galerie Karsten Greve
13 military hospital beds, 200 x 80 cm each; 11 steel forms, 220 x 50 – 60 (diameter) cm each; 19 steel plates, 200 x 180 cm each; 35 military blankets
The work of Jannis Kounellis, a pioneer artist of Arte Povera, arouses a number of poetic associations. Untitled (2000) consists of military hospital beds, carved steel bodies, woolen blankets, and steel plates. The bed is normally associated as a place of warmth and security; the hospital bed, on the other hand, is a place to which one is bound by external adversities. Steel is a material imbued with the aura of coldness and sterility. As viewers enter and wander through the space, a complex relationship is gradually revealed between material and space, artwork and, architecture. The uncommon materials, Kounellis uses, raw elements like iron, gold, and coal combined with industrially produced objects, have the uncanny ability to evoke feelings such as warm or cold, hard or soft, in addition to the more intricate connotations based on viewers’ personal experiences. Kounellis’s work often exceeds the defined categories of art. His oeuvre comprises unpainterly paintings, sculpture constructed of unusual materials, and installations incorporating fire, people, and live animals. In his attempts to broaden the horizons of Expressionism, Kounellis has created a diverse genre, which is clearly all his own.