Jannis Kounellis (1936-2017), who died suddenly a year ago, was one of the major protagonists of Arte Povera, a movement of radical artists that emerged in Italy in the 1960s. His work is exhibited in many major museums in Europe, Asia and America and is a reference for a new generation of artists. In recent years, Kounellis had exhibited many times in Europe - at La Monnaie de Paris in 2016 - but also in Russia, Mexico and China where each time he created spectacular works in situ.
After having presented a number of exhibitions of the artist’s work since 1989, Galerie Lelong & Co. has decided to look back over Kounellis career through a series of very unusual editions that he designed from the end of the 1980s: the "boxes”. These multiples, which were almost always produced in 25 copies, take the form of a metal box with a window, most often containing a print and one or more objects from daily life, assembled with energy and sometimes with mischief or irony. The physical reality of the materials is important: the object is there for what it is, and not for what is seems to be. Newspapers, coats, an axe, billiard balls, an iron – they differ from one edition to another, are showcased in a limited space and within this smaller scale they reconstitute the pictorial dramaturgy that was the artist's signature.
All the boxes on display have been produced in the Bulla studio in Rome and are signed and numbered on the underside by the artist.