Opening in March 2015 at Breese Little, CLASSICICITY will bring together ancient and contemporary art in a dynamic display that spans diverse media, styles and epochs. The exhibition will centre upon a juxtaposition of Greek and Roman antiquities with works by international contemporary artists who engage at multiple levels with the classical world and its afterlife throughout art history.

CLASSICICITY will establish multiple dialogues between the ancient and the modern – aesthetic, conceptual and narrative. It will re-present the classical through the lens of the contemporary while also setting contemporary art inside a classical frame, asserting the continued manifold influences of Greek and Roman art. The show will ask us to look at Greek and Roman antiquities not as museum artefacts but as seductive, emotive and provocative works of art. It will refute the idea of a stable and definable ‘classical tradition’ in art, proposing that contemporary responses to the classical are as eclectic and multilayered as the classical past itself. The works in the exhibition will articulate a myriad of possible ‘classicisms’ – setting forth a dynamic, shifting and open-ended territory of classicicity.

The exhibition will include works by a range of leading and emerging international artists, including Nell Allen, Edward Allington, Maggi Hambling, Richard Hawkins, Rachel Kneebone, Tony Lawrence, Sarah Lucas, Ged Quinn, Pfeiffer/Walz, Mary Reid Kelley and Alexandre Singh. Ancient artworks will include a Roman relief fragment depicting the head of Mars, from the 2nd century AD.

CLASSICICITY is curated by Ruth Allen and James Cahill, and arranged in collaboration with Rupert Wace Ancient Art.

Ruth Allen is a PhD researcher at the University of Cambridge specialising in Roman art history and visual culture, currently working on mythological imagery on engraved Roman gemstones. She previously worked as an Administrator/Junior Specialist in the Antiquities Department at Christie’s.

James Cahill is researching a PhD at the University of Cambridge on the relationship between Greco-Roman art and mythology and contemporary visual culture. He regularly contributes to art magazines and periodicals including Apollo, Art in America, The Burlington Magazine, Elephant and frieze. His book on artist Maggi Hambling, War Requiem & Aftermath, will be published Spring 2015 by Unicorn Press.