Greek/Italian painter, sculptor, draughtsman, and installation artist, born in Piraeus. In 1956 he settled in Rome, where he studied at the Academy, and he has rarely returned to Greece. His early work included canvases embellished with stencilled letters, numbers, and signs, but in the mid-1960s he abandoned painting and in 1967 became associated with the *Arte Povera movement. Materials including gas flames, coal, burlap sacks, and white cotton are employed by Kounellis for their associations as well as their visual qualities. As Rudi Fuchs put it, ‘there is a history in Kounellis's work of freely flowing shape and of allowing pliant material to find its own shape: smoke leaving traces of soot, loosely hanging wool or coal poured out of the sack.

Text source: A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art (Oxford University Press)

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