Kounellis. Impronte.


Instituto Centrale per la Grafica, Rome


Press release

The Central Institute for Graphics presents the exhibition KOUNELLIS IMPRONTE dedicated to the graphic work of the recently deceased Master in the rooms of Palazzo Poli. The artist, the undisputed protagonist of an art that has revolutionized the pictorial language since the 1960s, had personally chosen the works to be exhibited and was preparing to follow the installation when he passed away on February 16. Based on the stylistic choices made by the Master and by his express will, the Institute, in agreement with the Kounellis Archive, exhibits in the exhibition curated by Antonella Renzitti, the last graphic work created in 2014 with the Stamperia d'Arte of Corrado and Gianluca Albicocco of Udine and two cycles of works, The Gospel according to Thomas from 2000 and Opus I from 2005, both made in Jaffa with the Israeli printing house Har-El Printers & Publisher. The artist's book The Gospel according to Thomas with the twelve terragraphs constitutes a reinterpretation by the artist of the relationship between contemporary art and the Sacred and "shows a drawing of harsh elementarity but of archaic and linguistically primary strength. The matrices with the red sand had highlighted a series of emblematic signs and full of spiritual evocations. Starting from the drawing of a circle in the sand to symbolize the common spiritual matrix to which Thomas and Jesus belonged, he subsequently divided it vertically in the middle, assigning each one half. 

Drawing and writing, both almost hyphenated, distinguish these twelve works where Kounellis calls into question the division between the soul and the body, the relationship between man and the universe, between fish and birds, trees of knowledge and philosopher's stones, constellations and objects of men: the light of an oil lamp (from Guernica) and a flying house as tension to ascension into the free space of the spirit. The last table evokes the twenty-four prophets of Israel, human advocates of ethical and moral virtue "(Bruno Corà). The 2014 work is a cycle of twelve large-format carborundum (iron powder) prints, with the imprint of the black coat, "man's lay habit of the 1900s", found as usual in the flea market , which loses all forms and constitutes an imprint "of memory, an indication of humanity". “The coat is physically there, it's not represented. The resin imprint left on the plate drying has retained the iron powder distributed above.

In this way, a rough surface in relief was created that holds the ink and transfers it, by means of the press, onto the sheet of engraving paper. Years later, the sedimented suggestion of the footprints of his Academy teacher Toti Scialoja, who in those years painted, with rags and fabrics, pictures "like traces of life" (Antonella Renzitti) reappears. Opus I is a portfolio of 47 photolithographs, a sum of forty years of artistic research in graphics; the claim of the space of drama within art; the Mediterranean culture rooted in the myth and tragedy that are embodied in history; coal pits and their contents; the theme of the journey, a fateful reference to that of Odysseus "not a cruise in the Mediterranean, but a vertical journey, in the depths, resulting from a war unleashed by the possession of a woman", said Kounellis in an interview. Of the portfolio there are 24 sheets. The exhibition was created thanks to the collaboration of the Kounellis Archive and the Albicocco art print shop, with the precious support of Bruno Corà.

 

In the volume, published by Gli Ori, in addition to the interventions by Federica Galloni and Maria Antonella Fusco, there are essays by Bruno Corà, Roberto Budassi and Antonella Renzitti and the testimony of Gianluca Albicocco. The edition was made possible thanks to the support of the General Directorate for Contemporary Art, Architecture and Urban Suburbs of MiBACT, directed by Federica Galloni.