Jannis Kounellis was born in 1936 in Piraeus, Greece. In 1956, Kounellis moved to Rome and enrolled in the Accademia di Belle Arti. While still a student, he had his first solo show, titled L’alfabeto di Kounellis, at the Galleria la Tartaruga, Rome, in 1960. The artist exhibited black-and-white canvases that demonstrated little painterliness; on their surfaces, he stenciled letters and numbers.

Influenced by Alberto Burri as well as Lucio Fontana, whose work offered an alternative to the Expressionism of Art Informel, Kounellis was looking to push painting into new territory. He was inspired, too, by the work of Jackson Pollock and Franz Kline, and by the earlier abstractions of Kazimir Malevich and Piet Mondrian. Kounellis’s painting would gradually become sculptural; by 1963, the artist was using found elements in his paintings. Kounellis began to use live animals in his art during the late 1960s; one of his best-known works included 11 horses installed in the gallery. Kounellis not only questioned the traditionally pristine, sterile environment of the gallery but also transformed art into a breathing entity. His diverse materials from the late.
He died in Rome in 2017


Jannis Kounellis
Jannis Kounellis
Piraeus, 1936

Current Exhibitions

11 Oct — 15 Apr
The Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea has started a new chapter in its history with the exhibition “Time is Out of Joint”. The display is part of a wide process—initiated on June 21, 2016 and lead by...

Past Exhibitions

Margherita Stein: Rebel With a Cause

Magazzino Italian Art 28/06/2017 — 01/08/2017

YTALIA: Energy Thoughts Beauty. It’s all connected

Forte di Belvedere and around the city 02/06/2017 — 01/10/2017

Switch on 3

Galleria Fumagalli
24/02/2017 — 01/04/2017

Jannis Kounellis at Centro de Arte Contemporaneo Wilfredo Lam

Centro de Arte Contemporaneo Wilfredo Lam 24/11/2016 — 28/01/2017

Tudo Joia

Bergamin & Gomide
28/10/2016 — 26/11/2016

Solo Shows

The Negev Museum of Art, Be’er Sheva, Israel DODECAFONIA, Gavin Brown’s enterprise, Sant’Andrea de Scaphis, Rome, Italy
Kounellis: Relámpagos sobre México, MECA Museo-Espacio Ciudad de las Artes, Aguascalientes, Mexico
La Monnaie de Paris, Paris, France Galerie Karsten Greve, Paris, France
Centro Arti Visive Pescheria, Pesaro, Italy
MAC USP – Museum of Contemporary Art, University of São Paulo, Brasil

Jannis Kounellis: New Works, Galleri Bo Bjerggaard, Copenhagen, Denmark Firenze Suona Contemporanea, Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence, Italy
Galleria Continua, Les Moulins, Boissy-le-Châtel, France Untitled (12 Horses), Gavin Brown’s enterprise, 620 Greenwich St, New York
Untitled from Collezione Ramo, Collectorspace, Istanbul, Turkey
Galleria Christian Stein, Milan and Pero, Italy
Galleria Continua, San Gimignano, Italy

Sprovieri, London, UK
Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Saint-Etienne, France Casamadre Arte Contemporanea, Naples, Italy
Todi Festival 2014, Sezione Arti Visive, Palazzo del Vignola, Todi, Italy
Dal profondo: Jannis Kounellis, Palazzo Antinori Corsini Serristori, Florence, Italy Almine Rech Gallery, Brussels, Belgium

Galeriartist, Istanbul, Turkey
Kounellis Trieste, Salone degli Incanti Ex Pescheria, Trieste, Italy
Jannis Kounellis in Korea, Wooson Gallery, Daegu, South Korea
City Art Gallery, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Volume Foundation, Rome, Italy Giacomo Guidi Arte Contemporanea, Rome, Italy Galería Kewenig, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Cheim & Read, New York

Group Shows

Ytalia, Palazzo Vecchio, Firenze, Italy

The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse, Miami
12 Solos, Blain|Southern, Berlin, Germany
Arch and Art, Giardini della Triennale di Milano, Milan, Italy
Drawing Dialogues: Selections from the Sol LeWitt Collection, The Drawing Center, New York
Imagine: Nuove immagini nell’arte italiana 1960-1969, Collezione Peggy Guggenheim, Venice, Italy
Opwindig – Een tentoonstelling can Rudi Fuchs / Excitement – Exhibition by Rudi Fuchs, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
Un Art Pauvre, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France

Schlaflos – Das Bett in Geschichte und Gegenwartkunst, 21er
Hause des Belvedere, Vienna, Austria
Accellerazione, Herbert Foundation, Ghent, Belgium
LVI Venice Bienniale, Venice, Italy
Kounellis Sturtevant Tiravanija, Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York
Au rendez-vous des amis, Palazzo Vitelli a Sant’Egidio, Città di Castello, Italy Brera in contemporaneo: Fabro, Garutti, Kounellis, Paolini, Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan, Italy
Follia Continua! Les 25 ans de la Galleria Continua, Le Centquatre-Paris, Paris, France; travelled to Centro Wifredo Lam, Habana
Vieja, Cuba Fifteen Years, Sprovieri, London, UK
Ennesima, Triennale di Milano, Milan, Italy
Codice Italia, Padiglione Italia, 56th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
Arts & Foods – Rituali dal 1851, Padiglione di Expo 2015 in città, Triennale di Milano, Italy
The Elements, Kiasma Museum, Helsinki, Finland

Contacts & Details

City of birth: Piraeus Country of birth: Greece Date of birth: 1936