The cycle of exhibitions dedicated to the history of the Italian artist video between the 1960s and 1970s continues. The exhibition, the sixth and last appointment of the collaboration with the Historical Archives of the Venice Biennale, consists of three different manifestations of the image of Apollo that Kounellis put into work, between 1972 and 1973 , hiding his face behind a mask of plaster bearing the features of the god.
The first, in 1972, took place at the Attic in Rome . To it, as an image of a threshold, the beginning of the path is entrusted: in a shot by Claudio Abate, Kounellis appears on horseback, inside a room. The animal's head moves towards the observer, beyond the door. It is an image crossed by restlessness and tension due to the many traits of ambiguity that emerge: a horse inside the hall of a palace, the classicism of the mask combined with the contemporaneity of the knight's clothes, the opening of the vision and the overlapping of the door to the imposing presence that inhibits the passage. However, the most notable sign of contradiction is given by the temporal dimension of the apparition: on the one hand there is animal life, the horse's breath, the heat and smell of its body, its inability to remain immobile; on the other there is the absolute white of the plaster, the imperturbable fixity of the mask, the terribleness of an empty gaze, the solemn silence.
The animal lives in the now, the god shows himself in the continuity of his being. The work inhabits an undecidable space between the two temporalities. It reunites the becoming with the immutable, the present with the eternal and superimposes its contemporaneity on the past of art.
The second, from 1973, is a different photograph taken on the occasion of Kounellis' performance at the La Salita gallery in Rome. The artist sits in the center of the frame with the Apollo mask on his face. In front of him, on a table, are the fragments of a classical sculpture that appears as the dismembered body of the god. A stuffed crow perches above the torso. To the left of Kounellis a flute player is playing music by Mozart and to his right is an open window. Also in this apparition the tension is created by the intertwining of opposites. The hieratic presence of Apollo's face is confronted with the image of death of the disintegrated sculpture and of the crow whose body imitates life but is devoid of it, at the same time, however, it joins the living body of Kounellis who perpetuates the divinity by assuming its features.