What is Contemporary? Brancolini Grimaldi, London

Curated by Domingo Milella and Bacarelli Botticelli, What is Contemporary? is now open at Brancolini Grimaldi, London. The group exhibition combines contemporary photography with works of art from the past and includes work from Dan Holdsworth, Lise Sarfati, Clare Strand and Milella alongside antique sculpture, painting and artefacts. With a range of works that span time periods, the show asks audiences to think outside of the usual prescribed categories of art and to re-consider boundaries determined by place and time.

Uniting works from different periods into a single space, the pieces provoke a continuous dialogue between now and then. Placing the works together, viewers can trace links between works, for example an unfinished painting of a woman by Jacopo del Mazziere from early 16th century Florence sits next to a photograph by Lise Safarti, and Dan Holdsworth’s monumental landscape photographs compare to a piece of marble representing the Crucifixion from a Byzantine altar.

When placed within the history of art, photography is still in its infancy. It has only been in existence for around 150 years and its use by artists as a means of expression is an even more recent development. As such, it could be argued that photography is a more contemporary medium than say painting or sculpture. A photograph can be dated and fixed to a time period in a way which other media can escape.

Brancolini Grimaldi brings contemporary photography into dialogue with a thought-provoking range of art from medieval times, Renaissance times and more recent times, to explore the place of this relatively new practice within art history.

What is Contemporary? 24 May – 6 July, Brancolini Grimaldi, 43-44 Albemarle Street, London, W1S 4JJ.

1. Left: Signs of a Struggle no. 9, 2003, © Clare Strand Right: Gian Cristoforo Romano, Duchessa Bona di Savoia, 1490/95, basrelief portrait in marble. Courtesy of Brancolini Grimaldi and the artist.