Exhibition: Jannis Kounellis ARTIST ROOMS, Tramway, Glasgow, until September 23 2012
© Jannis Kounellis. Image: tramway.org
There is a deceptive simplicity to work coming under the banner of arte povera. Its materials are cheap, readily available, perhaps discarded. Jannis Kounellis has built a 50-year long career out of earth, bedframes and burlap sacks.
But if the materials are mundane, their presentation may give rise to flights of lyricism. This Italian art movement was the closest we came in the 20th century to alchemy; the Greek artist was a central figure, using gallery spaces in ways never before seen. Most notably, this meant stabling horses in the Galleria l’Attico, Rome.
In later years, Kounellis has shown desire to get away from white cube galleries altogether. And one can assume he was inspired by the space at Tramway, which has been described by stage director Peter Brook as an “industrial cathedral”. It is as if the building itself were just so much more low-grade sculptural material.
The ARTIST ROOMS show may not be the most extensive arte povera show you’ll ever see. But it is a chance to see new work by a surviving member of the group. If recent shows in London by his peers including Pino Pascali and Michelangelo Pistoletto are anything to go by, Glasgow is in for a treat.
- Open Tuesday-Friday 12pm-5pm (6pm Saturday and Sunday). Admission free.