Jannis Kounellis
Bells 1993

Artwork details

Jannis Kounellis born 1936
Date 1993
Medium Bronze bells, wooden beams and rope
Dimensions Overall display dimensions variable
2450 x 1650 x 955mm (approx when displayed at NGS)
Acquisition ARTIST ROOMS
Acquired jointly with the National Galleries of Scotland through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
Not on display

Online caption

First exhibited in a Palazzo in Italy, this sculpture was originally placed in a room overlooking a Romanesque cathedral. The arrangement of bells and wooden beams drew directly on the cathedral’s distinct architectural language and evokes Christian iconography. Although the bells are tilted at slight angles and appear as though about to chime, Kounellis has fixed them in place using tightly knotted ropes. Silenced, and suggesting a potent mix of weight and gravity, the bells bring to mind the anticipation and solemnity of religious ceremonies. Despite being an atheist, these spiritual symbols are central to Kounellis’s Mediterranean identity and hold important cultural significance for the artist.

About this artwork