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Published 16/03/2005 email E-MAIL print PRINT

Jannis Kounellis: Modern Art Oxford. 15 December-20 March 2005

This quasi-retrospective exhibition of the work of Jannis Kounellis is a remarkable opportunity to assess the continuing significance of this outstanding artist. Born in 1936, he has been described by some as the 'veteran' of Arte Povera, although, in fact, he was really the key motivator of the movement, emanating from Rome and Turin in 1970. Greek by birth (he was born in Piraeus in 1936) he remains questioning of the numerous assumptions through which one must wade to get at the essential truths behind contemporary art. There is a gravitas and a profound monumentality about a work such as 'Untitled' in this show, with the array of regularly disposed, criss-crossed heavy steel elements which take one back to the Acropolis, no less. It could surely never have been Roman, for all the decades he lived in the city. Kounnellis's art is about materiality and its location and dispersal, with both gravitas and a modicum of grace.



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