Jannis Kounellis, Parasol Unit, London

Contemporary painter, sculptor and performance artist Jannis Kounellis exhibits his early works at Parasol unit from 28 November to 17 February. Considered a protagonist of Arte Povera, an art movement that emerged in Italy during the 1960s, Kounellis embarked on his artistic career by creating some of the most radical art works of the time. Often combining the inanimate and animate, he boldly incorporated things such as propane torches, plants and animals as integral if not vital parts of his works.

Kounellis introduced the notion of performance within works of art, something that to this day continues to inspire artists around the world. In all these works Kounellis drew from his deep knowledge of and sensitivity to cultures of the past and his own heritage, in itself a spirited discussion between collective and personal experiences.

The exhibition at Parasol unit aims to consider Kounellis’ early works from the 1960s, 70s and 80s and his own response to them from today’s standpoint, which often culminates in a more recent and spontaneous work. On show will be works, such as Untitled (Carboniera), 1967; Untitled (steel plate and braid),1969, on loan from Centre George Pompidou, Musée national d’art; Metamorphosis, 1984, and Untitled, 1977, an electric train moving on steel plates installed around one of the pillars of the Parasol unit gallery.

Jannis Kounellis at Parasol unit, 28 November until 17 February, 14 Wharf Road, London, N1 7RW. www.parasol-unit.org


1. Jannis Kounellis, Untitled, 1967. Courtesy of the artist and of Sprovieri, London. Photograph: Claudio Abate
2. Jannis Kounellis, Untitled, 1969. Courtesy of the artist and of Sprovieri, London. Photograph: Claudio Abate
3. Jannis Kounellis, Untitled, 1977. Courtesy of the artist. Photograph: Paolo Mussat Sartor