Jannis KounellisDodecafonia at Gavin Brown’s enterprise, Sant’Andrea De Scaphis in Rome.

What would be the best way to set out on a journey: a camel or a boat?


As we all know, in both cases, one looks at the sky toward the constellation of Ursa Minor to chart the path to the final goal. For me, the way of the sea is far more natural for reaching the destination, be it near or far, propelled forward by the desire of having a dialogue in a language of having a dialogue in a language invented there and then, but never forgetting its roots, buried beneath a heap of stones in the textile factory abandoned in the winter of 1907- Jannis Kounnelis.


The Greek-born artist has recently inaugurated a solo show at Gavin Brown’s enterprise new space in Rome, a suggestive 18th-century church named Sant’Andrea De Scathes. Titled Dodecafonia, the exhibition imposes a direct experience on visitors without any filter, combining together Kounnellis’s recurrent elements into a single location filled with lyrical suspense.


Like in the twelve tone music technique, each aspect of Kounellis’s artistic vocabulary is equally developed, embodied iconic objects such as charcoal stones, ropes and metal trestles, placed in a way that subverts the general perception of the church’s architecture, blurring the borders between the artworks and the space around it.

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Realities  and frustrations of the contemporary society are subtly expressed, drawing upon primitive, fundamental, human values such as religion and the human objects that embody, contain and measure those values. Once again Kounellis creates an image that stands for change, making through his art a brutal moral insistence but also an affirmation of freedom.