Any encounter with a work of art is an encounter with yourself.
Hans Georg Gadamer
Like the above quotation from Gadamer, this text proposes a generic journey to our inner world through the visual spectrum of several artistic discourses.
The Chronic Desire exhibition, the central event of the “Timișoara – European Capital of Culture in 2023” official opening, is an invitation to reflect on a series of pressing matters that nature, humanity and the whole world are currently facing. This curatorial discourse encompasses a wide range of artistic practices that reveal the fragility and sensibility of our contemporary world. At the same time, certain works in this exhibition add a mystical touch to the socio-political commitment. Along this special type of journey, we become aware of man’s place in society in relation to the spiritual, cultural, social and political implications of art.
In my opinion, the words written on the frontispiece of Apollo’s Temple at Delphi, “Know thyself”, are strongly connected to the overarching message of Chronic Desire. A fundamental attitude towards understanding life, this kind of introspective content can be a significant part of our becoming aware of and deepening the particularities of man’s current existence, with the aim of managing our resources in a much more intelligent and efficient way. Within this exhibition, we can identify ingenious visual ways of emphasizing different aspects of everyday life, transposed through works of art such as site-specific installations, object installations, sound installations, drawings, paintings, sculptures, videos, performance – a conglomeration of mediums of plastic and conceptual expression. Among the various artistic discourses that deal with areas having a clear socio-political character, certain works display deep poetic accents. In such works, elements appear in the form of visual coordinates that transpose the viewer into a subtle universe. Some of them consist of modular lines that shape contours and spaces in drawn symbols that make an almost mystical path of visual representation.
Another feature of the visual sequences is that they shift the viewer’s attention towards the conceptual trajectory of an object from form to content and vice versa. Joan Jonas’s video material, Street Scene with Chalk, follows this visual path. The American artist makes temporal insertions of a series of drawings, overlapping sequences cut out from different moments. Joan’s affinity for experiments leads her to a direction where the drawing becomes a playground for a more sensitive approach of the world around her.
Artist Adriana Lucaciu’s work, Embodiment, No. 23, which belongs to a slightly different register, points out very delicately that the human material is truly complex and fragile and has a multitude of layers that are yet to be understood. The fragile, harmonious lines, the rigorous touch and the structure of the entire composition become part of the scenario of the textile surface used to create a profound experience. In a similar spiritual manner, artist Ana Adam emphasizes the implications of the personal universe for shaping a poetic universe in The Death of Dingo.
The projects described above are completed with Alexa Szekeres’s discourse in her work when the giants left, which suggests the fragility of memory through the motif of monuments, ruins and collective traumas.
Both the aforementioned artistic interventions and the general discourse of the Chronic Desire exhibition propose, among other things, the stimulation of creative perception through visual poetic fragments placed with great curatorial care in four locations in Timișoara. From my point of view, the general stake of this exhibition project consists in cementing both the individual and the collective sense and awareness of value, in order to spark an interest in the issues we are confronted with today.