Jannis Kounellis, “Untitled” (1960)

A mathematical - like alphabet: Jannis Kounellis, "Untitled" (1960)

Jannis Kounellis’ “alphabet paintings”, a series of pictures produced from 1958 to 1960, present arrangements of bold alphanumeric typographical elements superimposed over expanses of color. The script, bearing unmistakable yet superficial resemblance to some mathematical operation, appears at first as an urgent effort to convey an emphatic message yet the symbols fall short of accomplishing their purpose.  The mathematical allusion is enhanced not only by the presence of numerical symbols, but also by ivolving familiar symbols in unusual syntax, a feature typical to mathematical texts.


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