Jannis Kounellis
Untitled 1960

Artwork details

Jannis Kounellis born 1936
Date 1960
Medium Polyvinyl acetate paint and tempera on canvas
Dimensions Support: 1409 x 2305 x 30 mm
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

Like many artists of his generation, Kounellis merged traditional art forms with new performative elements. This early composition comes from a series of ‘alphabet paintings’ known as 'Alfabeti'. Including overlapping letters and arrows that create dynamic and unpredictable compositions, it takes inspiration from the spontaneous technique of the action painter, Jackson Pollock. Stencilled thickly onto a white background, the arrangement of the letters invokes a rhythm which appears to make the black marks float freely in their surrounding space. As if denoting the emergence of some new primitive language, these signs were also enacted by Kounellis himself in ritualistic performances.

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