Lara Nickel: 12 Horses – Homage to Jannis Kounellis


Texts by Germano Celant, José Jiménez, Alex Bacon, and Lara Nickel


American painter Lara Nickel’s life-size installation in homage to Jannis Kounellis’ Untitled (12 Horses), one of Arte Povera’s most iconic artworks.


The horse has been represented in the history of art by almost every culture in every time period. In 1969, Jannis Kounellis (member of the Italian art movement Arte Povera) brought twelve living horses inside a gallery in Rome, creating a very reinterpreted image of the horse in an art context. Lara Nickel’s homage is comprised of twelve life-size, realistic paintings of horses, positioned on the ground and installed perpendicularly to the wall. Presented in this non-traditional way, the images of horses appear to be standing in the room, making the architecture itself the setting of the paintings. Nickel’s 12 Horses – Homage to Jannis Kounellis uses painting as a sculptural intervention, inviting the audience to physically engage with the artwork. Using Kounellis’ original piece as an art historical reference, Nickel’s paintings are not only portraits of horses but painting-as-illusion, painting-as-object, and painting-as-situation.


  • Exploring Nickel’s and Kounellis’ work in depth, this book discusses the conceptual definition of painting as well as how the literal object of paint on canvas interacts with space and time. Other artists discussed within the texts in connection to this theme are: Giovanni Battista Tiepolo,  Lucio Fontana, Marcel Duchamp, the Renaissance paragone debate, American Minimalism, prehistorical cave painting and Cubist collage.
  • As with Nickel’s other painting projects, 12 Horses – Homage to Jannis Kounellis is a sensual, interactive participation with painting and the living history of art.
  • This book is published for the occasion of Nickel’s exhibition 12 Horses – Homage to Jannis Kounellis at Fondazione 107 in Turin, 2019 which marked the 50th anniversary of Kounellis’ original showing of his Untitled (12 Horses) at Galleria L’Attico in Rome, 1969.


Germano Celant was a renowned art historian and theoretician, acknowledged for his theories and involvement with Arte Povera. He was a prolific writer and curator of many influential exhibitions in some of the most prominent museums and institutions worldwide.


José Jiménez is an art curator, professor of aesthetics and author of philosophy and art theory in Madrid, Spain. He has written numerous books on art and received the French Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres distinction in 2011.


Alex Bacon is an art historian based in New York City who regularly writes criticism and organizes exhibitions of both contemporary and historical art. He is currently a Curatorial Associate at the Princeton University Art Museum.


Lara Nickel is an installation-based painter. She received her BFA in painting with a minor in art history from the College of Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2007. She currently lives and works in New York City.

Hardcover book

SKU: 366615376135191
  • Tri-lingual: English / Italian / French

    216 pages