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Jannis Kounellis, "Da inventare sul posto (To invent on the spot)"

Watch Jannis Kounellis combine painting music and dance. To learn more about what artists have to say, take our online course, Modern and Contemporary Art, 1945-1989. Created by The Museum of Modern Art.

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Video transcript

Female: A painting. A ballerina. A violinist. Jannis Kounellis' Da inventare sul posto, which translates as To Invent on the Spot, brings all three together and is on view in the exhibition Ileana Sonnabend: Ambassador for the New. (violin music) The artist conceived of this painting and performance in 1972. The large canvas, partially covered by loose brush strokes of pink paint, depicts several measures of music from Igor Stravinsky's score for the ballet Pulcinella. (violin music) The violinist repeats the music reproduced on the canvass until he takes a short break, and then begins his repetitions once more. (violin music) A ballerina dances in front of the painting, improvising her choreography during the first cycle and then repeating her movements each time the music starts again. (violin music) The work was presented in 1972 at Documenta in Kassel, Germany, and then at Kounellis' first solo gallery exhibition in the Unites States, held at Sonnabend Gallery in New York that same year. Throughout the course of the exhibition, it will be performed at MoMA over 40 times. Come join us in the invention.