The oeuvre of Jannis Kounellis, a pioneer of the Arte Povera movement, takes centre stage in this exhibition at the MKM, which forms part of the inter-city project “Art & Coal”, mounted by the RuhrKunstMuseen. In addition to steel, stone or textile, coal is one the fundamental materials from which Kounellis crafted his expansive installations.
On show is a selection of works from private and public collections celebrating the archaic energy of this combustible rock. Kounellis’ presentation of this “poor” material abounds in associations and stored histories. His installations can be read as a reminiscence to the passing of the industrial age. “For me, iron and coal are materials which reflect most profoundly the world of the Industrial Revolution and, with it, the foundations of our present culture.” (Kounellis 1989).
This forms the conceptual basis of the exhibition in the MKM, which showcases further artistic positions in a kind of homage to Jannis Kounellis himself, all of which incorporate the use of coal as a working material, a motif or a theme. On view are installations and even entire rooms fashioned by Ay?e Erkmen, Anselm Kiefer, Michael Sailstorfer, Sun Xun, Timm Ulrichs und Bernar Venet.
This project has been made possible by the generous support of the RAG-Stiftung, the Brost-Stiftung and Evonik Industries AG, together with the Ministry for Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalization and Energy and the Ministry for Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.