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Contemporary spin on ancient art in Rome exhibition
A visitor stands in front of a clay statue " Atleta " made by artist Nino Longobardi during the opening of the " Post Classici " exhibition at Rome's ancient Forum, on May 22, 2013. AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTO.

ROME (AFP).- From ancient Greek statues with futuristic helmets to gladiator shields decorated with shoes, a series of Italian contemporary art works are going on show among the ruins of Rome's Forum.

Many of the creations by 17 artists -- spread throughout the vast complex which was once the teeming heart of Rome -- were made especially for the "Post-Classical" exhibition opening Thursday, which explores the links between contemporary art and antiquity.

The collection includes works by members of the Arte Povera movement -- Greek-born Jannis Kounellis, Michelangelo Pistoletto and Giulio Paolini -- as well as independents Vanessa Beecroft and Claudio Parmiggiani, and photographer Mimmo Jodice.

"What brings them together is the need to reinvent the fundamental themes of Classicism, to the point of rendering them unrecognisable," the exhibition's curator Vincenzo Trione told journalists.

"They don't make faithful copies, they don't put the culture of the past on a pedestal, they privilege discontinuity and margins," he added.

At the heart of the Temple of Venus and Rome stands Pistoletto's famous "Venus of the Rags", a white statue of the Roman goddess of love in front of a large pile of brightly coloured clothes.

Over at the Palatine stands Gregorio Botta's iron version of the Temple of Portunus, which has water running inside it to evoke its nickname of the Temple of "Manly Fortune".

Other works have been set up in the Temple of Romulus, at the Barberini Vineyard and the Cryptoporticus of Emperor Nero, scattered where they can be discovered by visitors as they wander through the covered porticos and wide green gardens of this ancient part of the Eternal City.

"The Revival of the Ancient in Contemporary Italian Art" runs until September 29.

© 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse

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