Greek-Italian painter, sculptor and performance artist, Kounellis studied at an art college in Athens until 1956, the date of his departure for Italy. He settled in Rome and studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti, where he was particularly influenced by the non-figurative painter Alberto Burri. His work is characterised by the constant concern, on one hand, with symbols of the urban mass and industrial civilisation and, on the other, with fundamental individual values. All this was clear at the shows into which he turned his exhibitions; Kounellis would "sing" the numbers and letters painted on the canvases. In 1967, he became involved with Arte Povera and his works basically consisted of the superimposing of objects, materials and actions culturally and physically opposed to each other. In 1972 and 1982, he took part in "documenta" 5 and 7, respectively, in Kassel. He has participated in numerous exhibitions, with highlights being those held at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (1990) and at the Kunsthalle Hamburg (1995).