Bells
© Jannis Kounellis

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Bells 1993
  • Artist Rooms
First exhibited in a palace 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.

Glossary Open

Iconography

The study of the content of a work of art rather than its formal qualities. It also refers to the symbols associated with a person or movement.

Romanesque art

The art of Western Europe from the 10th to the 12th centuries. The term is usually associated with architecture of the period with its use of the rounded arch.

Iconography, Romanesque art

Details

  • Acc. No. AR00071
  • Medium Bronze bells, wooden beams and rope
  • Size Approx. display dimensions: 245.00 x 165.00 x 95.50 cm
  • Credit ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008