Jannis Kounellis
Ask WHAT? of these two elements: black coats hung on meathooks on I-beams mounted on blank paper; a row of tripod forms ending in a T. A line of questioning that repeats the simple query WHAT? reveals a compassionate narrative that in some respects seems contrary to the sheer weight and brawn of the materials the artist employs throughout this exhibition. The black coats and paper might suggest conformity and/or absence, nothing written nothing left; while the tripods stand like a line of anti-tank defense, an obstruction, or an expanded line-drawing that demands manuevering.

"Jannis Kounellis is one of the founding figures of the Arte Povera movement, which arose in Italy during the early 1960's. At that time, Italy was undergoing major political upheaval, transforming from a fundamentally agrarian society into an industrialized society. The Arte Povera artists regarded themselves as political artists who believed in playing a serious social role. These artists visualized the dialogue between nature and industry using industrial or "non-art" materials, holding a strong desire to disassociate their work from the restraints of more conventional art forms and art spaces, and also to play upon the political dimension of industrial materials. The Arte Povera movement created a strong and vital European voice in the international art scene, counterpointing the well-known Minimalist movement in America, which was also utilizing industrial materials. From the perspective of the Arte Povera artist, Minimalism concerned itself with aspects of form and was disinclined toward the poetic, political and historical concerns that were the creative foundation of the Arte Povera movement." - ACE gallery

Poetic, political and historical concerns translate into works that embody the urge toward metaphor. Throughout this show, it is in the contrast between message and materials that a satisfying tension is established and developed, adding depth to the formal beauty of the wood, iron, lead, fabric and paper and providing glimpes of content beyond structural beauty.

All the works in this exhibition are UNTITLED 1998. The artist and a crew of colleagues labored at the gallery for 45 days planning, building and installing the work. The pieces were built on-site but are not site-specific as such, meaning that while they fit the space that holds them like a hand in a glove, their exhibition will not be limited to this space or occasion.

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