New York

Jannis Kounellis

Sonnabend Gallery

Jannis Kounellis confronts nature and the man-made. He makes this confrontation literal, incorporating both objects and performances. He confronts the kind of paradoxical fusion of real and manufactured that Magritte was particularly masterful at depicting. Kounellis’ Papagallo of 1969, the earliest work in the show, consists of a vertically oriented iron rectangle. The work outlines his esthetic position perfectly. It is an abstract “object”—gray, hard, and Minimal—to which the artist has bound a “natural” phenomenon—a richly colorful, cawing, bit of life. Each impinges on the other’s reality. The structure represents a modernist norm which is put into perspective as somewhat cold and artificial by the gorgeous coloration of nature represented by the bird. The bird, in turn, and the mess it makes, seems artificial in the light of its formalistic gallery setting. It is a juxtaposition,

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