Today, if you want to see a work of art, you no longer have to go to a museum. Just going to buy bread from the nearest grocery may be enough. This is because the art world is increasingly interested in moving art from institutions to public spaces and highlighting the artistic expressions that a public space can produce in turn.
The times of statues of mounted rulers preparing to face the oppressive enemy armies are long gone. Art in public space changes because the interests and needs of the public also change. Art implemented by institutions and associations tends to be increasingly interactive or participatory, seeking to offer ordinary citizens the experience of escaping routine through an artistic act, without them having to go to a museum or a gallery. That is why today, in public spaces, emphasis is laid on installations, performances and murals – artistic forms that come your way so that you can interact or resonate with them.
The Art Encounters Biennial works are exhibited in public areas, to be seen by anyone who happens to be around. For instance, a work by artist Flaviu Cacoveanu from Cluj is displayed at the RATT Depot. Entitled Full Moon/Empty Stomach, it consists of a neon sign placed on the tower at the entrance to the depot. Also in the public space is a work by French artist Suzanne Husky, who arranged a garden called The Pharmacie and a screen for a video work in Traian Square. The artistic duo Minitremu organizes a community-based project at the French Institute. The duo, Laura Borotea and Gabriel Boldiș, has a background in public space interventions, from sticking up ironic posters like “We buy kidneys” around the city and spray-painting “Do not write on walls” on walls, to the personalisation and individualisation of pedestrian crossing signs.
The idea of public space art is gathering momentum in contemporary society, and Timișoara is a city that provides quite a lot of examples in this regard. From installations and murals to graffiti and anonymous street art, the city has plenty to offer those who want to lift their eyes off the ground or look up from their phone to admire the world around them.