The Van Abbemuseum Collection consists of over 2800 artworks. We publish texts and images on an ongoing basis, but this record is currently in the process of being documented.
This work by the artist Jannis Kounellis from Greece consists of five metal shelves which are attached to the wall at regular intervals one above the other. On four of the shelves there is an object wrapped up in grey woollen material. There is a patch of soot visible on the wall which appears to have been caused by a burning object on the top shelf. However, that shelf is empty.
Kounellis’s works often consist of objects, which have been arranged in a particular way. The objects, which he uses can often be related to the place of his birth, the Greek port Piraeus, where industry and transport play an important role. Materials such as iron, coal, jute bags and coffee – familiar products in the port – are regularly found in Kounellis’s work. He uses them as visual materials, but they also stimulate the other senses, especially the sense of smell and touch. In addition to these materials, Kounellis works with elements, which refer to European culture and its traditions. In Rome, where Kounellis has lived since 1956, there are particularly many remnants of the arts of different centuries all side by side. They are integrated in everyday life. Kounellis combines all sorts of fragments in a comparable way to achieve an obvious new whole.
He works in an intuitive way and is a representative of Arte Povera. In this movement, respect for tradition is important and the aim is to link art and life in a self-evident way. The Arte Povera artists often work with materials, which are unusual in art. In Kounellis’ work, size and arrangement play an important role.
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