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Jannis Kounellis died at the age of 80

“Creativity needs to have a form historical credibility. The latest poem, which was written, contains all values, which came into being in a language since its beginning. Therefore the creative engagement has to represent all historical values to be credible."

–Jannis Kounellis, from a conversation between Beuys, Kounellis, Cucci, Keifer


Jannis Kounellis at his 2012 show at the Blain/Southern gallery in Berlin (Image: Kamil Zihnioglu/dapd)

One of the participants of the 2nd and 4th Istanbul Biennials, respectively in 1989 and 1995, and one of the most important artists to be considered under the Arte Povera movement, Jannis Kounellis died at the age of 80. Knowing that his art will live on long after his death, we say farewell to him.

Born in 1936 in the city of Piraeus of Greece, Jannis Counellis moved to Rome, where he will live the rest of his life, at the age of 20 to study at the Academy of Fine Arts. Opened his first solo show at the La Tartaruga gallery, which was considered a magnet for art crowd in Rome, and got popular after he installed 12 live horses at Attic Gallery in 1969.

Evaluated within Arte Povere, which appeared on since 1967 and named after the simple, daily used and modest attitude of artists, Jannis Jounsellis’ work reflect rich metaphysical and conceptual ideas as well as deep social criticism. A real Mediterrenean artist, Kounsellis’ criticism includes a deeper resignation and sharp warning about the actual condition of the universal culture. Kounellis uses mainly steel and carbon, materials symbolising the dawn of the contemporary civilisation, to create his recent works with themes such as creation, religion, death, classical culture.