© Jannis Kounellis

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Untitled 1969
  • Artist Rooms
Sacks of coal, corn and peas are resonant of Kounellis’s Mediterranean roots, evocative of the sights and smells of a hectic seaport and the commercial exchange of goods. However, their situation within a gallery space also places these products in a new artistic context. Propped along the length of a wall, their colour, mass and scent produces a lyrical rhythm that invests them with new poetic significance. Employing everyday materials and instigating a radical revision of the exhibition space, Kounellis’s practice was fundamental to the development of the Arte Povera movement in the late 1960s.

Glossary Open

Arte Povera

Introduced by the Italian art critic and curator Germano Celant in 1967, ‘arte povera’ literally translates as ‘poor art’. As a movement was concerned with eliminating the idea of art as an exclusive activity. Demonstrating openness to new materials, the artists associated with the movement rejected traditional materials such as oil paint or bronze. Instead they employed ‘valueless’ found objects and materials such as stones and soil.

Arte Povera


  • Acc. No. AR00069
  • Medium Burlap and beans
  • Size 47.00 x 137.00 x 63.00 cm (variable)
  • 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