Danube Dialogues

Danube Dialogues

2018 Festivalul Art Danube: Timișoara – Novi Sad Capitale culturale europene 2021, Galeria Mamuzić Gift Collection Novi Sad

Interplay Between Restraint and Extensive / Curator Maria Orosan-Telea

The Art Dialogue Timișoara/Novi Sad Exhibition was initiated as an encounter of art discourses dealing whit the human’s condition in nowadays society, but it turned to be more than a show displaying artworks in order to discuss an idea. The general topic of this festival’s edition, The Use of Man, lead to the curatorial selection of six artists, tree from Timișoara and the other tree from Novi Sad, whose interests are highly relevant,  addressing socio-political issues, ecology, the impact of technology, housing and daily life, the biological and spiritual condition of humans.

Each Romanian artist was put in a dialogue with a Serbian artist according to similarities at the level of artistic expression. Aura Bălănescu and Stevan Kojić are both interested in the use of electronic and computer technology in relation to the vegetal life or the human body.

The leap motion and Kinect sensors used by Aura Bălănescu in her video installation transpose into images the body movement or just the hands gestures. Stevan Kojić uses sensors to make a connection between plants or the human brain and the computerized environment, in order to transform the vital pulsations or the neuronal activity in electronic and light signals.

Both Liliana Mercioiu Popa and Rastislav Škulec approach the issues of space articulation and of environmental structuring trough manufactured objects. The Romanian artists presented a large-scale installation that took possession of space to give expression to an artistic concept analyzing the issue of people’s migration in all its aspects, from general to particular.

Putting together geometrical structures similar to architectural fragments belonging to the habitation space, Rastislav Škulec aimed to offer them unexpected meanings dislodging and rearranging them in a manner that makes them lose their initial functionality.

Miloš Vujanović and Nicolae Velciov are in dialogue within their artworks by applying of a clear method of material construction of the works. Both are using modules to get complex synthesis –  in the case of Vujanović stylized anthropomorphic figures, and in the case of Velciov, a geometrical tubular network. Their conceptual discourses complement each other. While Vujanović ‘s work refers to the individual and self-knowledge, Velciov’s installation deals with the society and the harmful effects of its actions.

Aura Bălănescu, Liliana Mercioiu Popa and Nicolae Velciov are members of Avantpost Art Collective, a group interested in developing transdisciplinary and collaborative projects, in the use of technology, of large-scale installations, or site-specific interventions in alternative spaces. For the Danube Dialogues they recreated tree site-specific installations, which were presented in October 2017 in Timisoara, in the Avantpost show titled Universe Allowed. Half of each work was brought from Timișoara and the other half was created in Novi Sad with materials found here, in the exhibition space or around. The aim was to create within each artwork a symbolical encounter of material and conceptual samples, taken from the two cities. Therefore, the contextualization of Liliana Merciou Popa’s  work in Novi Sad kept  the concept of translocation as a defining aspect for the nowadays society, but trough the usage of different materials (local soil, and Danube water) it referred to a broader framework. The materials themselves were chosen in order to overcome the basic understanding of the subject matter and to awake a higher level of consciousness.

For his installation, Nicolae Velciov collected rubbish from the place where the artwork was exhibited in order to make an ecology related statement, the incontrollable phenomenon through which our planet’s resources are being turned into industrial products. The hourglass shape installation was created by putting together a network of plastic tubes arranged as a tetrahedron and a pyramid made of waste.

Through her work, Aura Bălănescu aimed to reveal, in a symbolical way, the major impact of the human actions. The video projection screens – walls, in this particular case – were part of the work and they added to it the memory of the place. Therefore, the surfaces that people interact with can be understood as witnesses of collective history, due to the repeated human imprints.

Thus, the creation of the tree works presented by the Romanian artists was meant to be a symbolical dialogue between two social and cultural backgrounds, that of Timișoara and Novi Sad.