"I ORIGINALLY thought that the artist was going to cover the floor in a massive stain of tar with a forest of steel beams coming out from it," says Suzanne Cotter, senior curator at Modern Art Oxford. But then a delivery of kilims arrived.
Jannis Kounellis's paintings, sculptures and carefully staged installations mix materials such as steel, cotton, coal, coffee, wood, stones, burlap sacks and gas lamps. Along with earlier works that he will present in a new way in Oxford, there is a brand new work for the Upper Gallery - 35 industrial steel I-beams presented on the colourful Turkish rugs. It will continue the series of striking new installations for the large space of the Upper Gallery that has included work by Tracey Emin, Jake and Dinos Chapman and Mike Nelson.
Kounellis will begin by mapping out how to restage his earlier work. "He works very intuitively," says Cotter, who has been watching him stroll through the galleries "in deep thought". Earlier work on display will include Untitled (1969), a metal bed-frame with burlap sacking; and Untitled (cotoniera) (1967), a cube of steel plates filled with raw cotton. Untitled (1968) is a ring of burlap sacks filled with coal, and Untitled (1969) is a painting made of metal plate with burning candle in which he has written in chalk in homage to Marat and Robespierre. …