“Clay is matter, iron is matter, paper is matter. We need to extend the concept of matter: matter is giving form, matter that takes on meaning, matter that becomes significant. A hundredweight of coal, not plastic painted like coal, not an abstract weight. A weight is what it hides, its history, its morality. For the artist a hundredweight of coal is the moral history of an aesthetic. Things become more real, more true. True in a moral sense, not imitation, quotation, realism. Realism is always falsehood and even what is concrete can be quite unreal. Matter that takes on significance: to find the meaning of matter and the obligations that this implies; in other words, what can be done in the face of a culture. Linguistic obligations, because not everything is permitted.”
—JANNIS KOUNELLISas quoted in: G. Moure (a.o), Jannis Kounellis: works, writings, 1958-2000, Barcelona 2001, p.313.