Jannis Kounellis, in addition to his legacy as a key participant in Arte Povera, was also a prolific teacher and mentor. In Focus: Jannis Kounellis as Mentor aimed to shed light on this defining, yet unrecognized, aspect of Kounellis’ practice. Curated by Dr. Francesco Guzzetti, Magazzino Italian Art’s former Scholar-in-Residence 2018-19, this program looked specifically at his impact while as a professor of sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Düsseldorf from 1993 to 2001, and later in the early 2000s, holding workshops throughout Europe.
The program featured a presentation by Dr. Francesco Guzzetti, who interviewed former students and assistants of Kounellis, such as artists Christiane Löhr and Eduard Winklhofer. A conversation with artist Calixto Ramírez followed. A video of an interview with Michelle Coudray and Bruno Corà, respectively president and member of the scientific committee of Archivio Kounellis in Rome, was also screened.
The relationship with younger generations was a substantial part of the artist’s mature work. Kounellis did not conceive of teaching in the conventional way, insomuch that he went beyond just sharing knowledge or experience. Art and teaching resonated with each other, by virtue of the mutual connections between Kounellis’ exploration of the human condition through art and his commitment to fostering the development of the individual voice of each artist. By encouraging his students to become aware of their position vis-à-vis broader cultural issues, Kounellis ultimately let them free to truly express themselves.
The notions inspiring the practice of Kounellis, such as the awareness of the universal resonance of individual human conditions and the importance of freedom as a major cultural achievement, were explored in this program, reconstructing his teaching practice through first-person accounts from those closest to the artist.
The lecture took place on Saturday, November 12, 2022, from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Gallery 1, followed by a reception on-site at Magazzino Italian Art.
About the speakers
About Francesco Guzzetti
Francesco Guzzetti is tenure-track assistant professor of modern and contemporary art at the University of Florence. He graduated at University of Pisa and Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa, from which he holds a PhD in Art History. His research revolves around Italian art from the early postwar years to the 1980s, with special focus on the relationship with the United States. He received fellowships and grants from: CIMA (Center for Italian Modern Art), New York; Bibliothèque Kandinsky - Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Harvard University; Magazzino Italian Art Foundation, Cold Spring, NY; The Morgan Library & Museum, New York. He has published in several scholarly journals and exhibition catalogues, including the catalogue of the recent exhibition of Giuseppe Penone at Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris (2021-2022), and participated in international conferences and study days. He curated exhibitions, such as Facing America: Mario Schifano 1960-1965 (CIMA, New York, 2021). He is currently working on a book manuscript about the relationships between Arte Povera and American art in the early 1970s.
About Calixto Ramírez
Calixto Ramírez is a Mexican artist born on the border of Reynosa with Hidalgo, Texas who has led a semi-nomadic life. This relationship to movement, has consciously and unconsciously influenced his way of understanding reality and has informed his capacity to use that experience as a tool to produce images, objects, spaces or gestures that propose new narratives. Calixto studied at the National School of Painting, Sculpture and Printmaking “La Esmeralda,” Mexico City, and spent a semester in a school exchange program with the National University of Colombia, Bogotá. In 2013 Jannis Kounellis invited him to live and work in Italy which gave him an opportunity to immerse himself in the European art scene, specifically in Italy. In 2019 Calixto returned to north Mexico. He has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards such as FONCA´s grant “Contigo a la distancia,” (2018), and the “Level 0 Prize” in Art Verona, Italy (2105); as well as a completed residencies around the world, including the residency program at Fundación Marcelino Botín in Spain (2009). He has exhibited at the Museo Jumex, Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, Museo de Arte Moderno (Mexico), Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, Museo de la Cd. De México, Museo de Arte de Sonora, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Tamaulipas, Museo de Arte Raúl Anguiano, Escuela Superior de Música y Danza de Monterrey, Nave Generadores and Fototeca de Nuevo León, Fondazione MEMMO, Fondazione smART, Museo del Novecento in Naples, and the National Art Gallery of Tirana. He currently lives and works in Monterrey, México.