The Classical in Contemporary Art and Visual Culture – an Introduction


  • Bente Kiilerich University of Bergen



This special issue of CLARA titled ‘The Classical in Contemporary Art and Visual Culture’ focuses on the impact of Greco-Roman antiquity on present day art and culture. Over the last few decades, antique statues have been revived again and again, turning up in new guises in contemporary art from all over the globe. In addition to new works based on specific ancient statues, some artists create art that references the past in a more general way. Other artists question the divide between past and present raising the possibility of ‘multi-temporality’, a phenomenon that will be explored in connection with recent exhibitions. Another aspect of the interaction of antiquity and the contemporary world is the association between luxury brands and antique monuments, fashion brands taking on the role of patrons, paying large sums for the restoration of Roman landmarks. By studying various types of exchanges between the classical and the contemporary, the papers aim to throw light on why artists and designers continue to draw inspiration from ancient art; in short, why antiquity continues to fascinate.



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