Giorgio Persano

Jannis Kounellis

16 Mar - 28 Jul 2012

© Jannis Kounellis
Untitled, 2012
16 March - 28 July 2012

The Jannis Kounellis exhibition at Giorgio Persano marks a fundamental step in the contemporary artistic scene.

After almost a quarter of a century, the artist returns to Turin and orchestrates the complex space of a structure in which every single element is part of a choral declaration. Real presences in a physical place, the works define an existing geography and take possession of a mental space with the force of their clearly established and peremptory verification of existence.

A visual corridor with fourteen huge easel-shaped structures support metal hooks from which hang heavy, dark overcoats joined together with rough stitching. They advance in a silent, sober procession and, like wisps carried by the wind, they rise and carry upwards these uninhabited figures, pitiless beings of an unfolding drama. Pitiless and inflexible as the frontal appearance that is immediately presented to us, in a categorical affirmation of essential trial, of vital reality. But like in a tragedy with deep roots in legend, the figures require a chorus of voices that must resonate with equally dramatic effect.

Following different registers, three partitions combine to accompany the action in a composition of extraordinary power. In the first, it is the hooks that provide a rhythm to the tone in an effect of twisted and oppressive suture. No longer joined together but each wrapped in an inextricable closed form, the garments reveal an impossibility. The impossibility of he who knows of an arduous task, of the artist aware of his role in society and the world. And here the suspension of this monodic song suddenly appears in the image on the floor of cloths wrapped and constrained by a rail imprisoning them in a timeless voyage, in a voyage projected towards infinity. In the third phase, of a similar human scale, the walls are animated with other presences. Again, heavy fabrics are used to give form and meaning to the work. Stretched out, they cover the surface and enwrap it like a thick skin, yearning to detach themselves from its support and at the same time, powerless to escape its clutches.

The exhibition is of a great force and tension, laying bare the assumptions of the avant-garde with a striking form that incites one to reflection and to an imperative, categorical form of civil resistance.

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