Despite the apparently brutality of his work at first glance, Kounellis (1936–2017) has always placed the human being at the heart of his work: by the proportions chosen (the size of a double bed, or of a sheet of paper), and by the frequent use of items of clothing (hat, coat, shoes, socks, etc.) as well as by the 'moral' dimension that has infused his work since the outset.
In 2014, three years before he died, Kounellis produced in the Albicocco de Udine workshop in Italy a spectacular series of twelve large etchings (220 x 120 cm) with a very limited production run of just 12 copies. Portraying the imprints of coats on large metal plates, these impressive etchings are evocative of the powerful sets he designed for theatre and the opera. What can be described as a sort of vast shroud now takes on a premonitory dimension. Never before exhibited outside of Italy, we are presenting them along with three unique works composed with coats, or their imprints, arranged on the sheets of metal that were the 'canvases' of the artist, who always considered himself a painter.
A major retrospective of Kounellis, organised by Germano Celant, who coined the term of Arte Povera, will open at the Prada Foundation in May 2019 in Venice, during the Biennale.
Galerie Lelong & Co. is publishing a special volume of the lengthy interview between Jérôme Sans and Jannis Kounellis in 2011 that has never been published in France.
Press release courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co. Paris.