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 Using Kounellis’ original piece as an art historical reference, Nickel’s paintings are not only portraits of horses but painting-as-illusion, painting-as-object, and painting-as-situation.