The 2021 edition of the Art Encounters Biennial entitled Our Other Us proposes existential formulas of coexistence, starting from contemporary man’s self-perception relative to society. The concepts of identity/otherness, developed around drifts and the transformations of the individual and collective conscience, give new meanings to boundaries and distances and the relationship between the inward and the outward. This year’s Biennial comprises distinct components, focusing on two curatorial projects by Mihnea Mircan and Kasia Redzisz. To a certain extent, the two projects are complementary. Although they have different starting points, they meet on the same platform. Our Other Us turns to the Other and to self at the same time – where does the boundary that separates us from the others lie? Where does our being melt into the Other? While Kasia Redzisz’s project focuses on forms of coexistence, Mihnea Mircan deals with inner restlessness and all the transformations of the self ensuing from it.
Mihnea Mircan’s Landscape in a Convex Mirror is conceived as a reference to Parmigianino’s 1524 painting, Self-portrait in a Convex Mirror, an analogy between the distorted human figure, which dilates as a result of an optic effect and pervades the whole composition, and the contemporary identity that changes constantly and becomes fluid in the current social context. The title of the project focuses on space as a centre of interest and landscape as a dissection instrument used to explore the presence and the absence, the fissures of historical narratives, the lack of “figure” and the versatile transformation of the self. On conceiving his main curatorial idea, Mihnea Mircan starts from the theme of crisis and disorientation (inspired from the present world situation) and the geopolitical and immunological distances. Parmigianino’s painting becomes a pretext for the suggestion that the distorted stage of the world we are crossing now is visible in the background of the convex mirror. Mircan’s project will feature artworks by Benjamin Bannan, Traian Cherecheș, Sara Culmann, Alice Gancevici & Remus Pușcariu, Adela Giurgiu, Femke Herregraven, Zsófia Keresztes, Szabolcs KissPál, Magdalena Łazarczyk, Jean-Luc Moulène, Vlad Nancă, Robertas Narkus, Miklós Onucsán, Manuel Pelmuș, Laure Prouvost, Ana Prvački, Saul Steinberg, Hito Steyerl, Remco Torenbosch, Achraf Touloub, Bernard Voïta.
Kasia Redzisz’s curatorial proposal, How to Be Together, comprises two exhibitions: a historical research that analyses the relationship between artists and nature and its contemporary correspondent. The project is meant to be more than an evocation of the present moment, imagining versions of possible futures starting from relative time. The concept of the exhibition relies on the specificity, complexity and identity of the city of Timișoara and refers to the local neo-avant-garde practices (the Sigma group), while investigating the relationship with the ecosystem and the others. Nature becomes a space for avant-garde experiments, an attempt to raise environmental awareness and a proposal to explore cosmology and existential policies. Artists are invited to deal with the self in relation to nature and to imagine different ways of coexisting, to cope with the problematic social context together, to envision alternative communities and types of pedagogy, to turn to Land Art, ecofeminism and other environment-related aspects. Therefore, artists explore concepts like social responsibility, community and sustainability, as well as their influence on existence and the artistic creation process. Kasia Redzisz’s curatorial exhibition includes, among others, Flaviu Cacoveanu, Ndidi Emefiele, Irena Haiduk, Mihaela Hudrea, Suzanne Husky, Nona Inescu, Agata Ingarden, Gizela Mickiewicz, Małgorzata Mirga-Tas, Davinia-Ann Robinson, Selma Selman, Jura Shust, Dardan Zhegrova.
Our Other Us, the 2021 edition of the Art Encounters Biennial, is intended to be a meeting point for the contemporary curatorial visions in the city of Timișoara, a platform that connects national and international artistic discourses.