Georgia Țidorescu: Your research is based on Central and Eastern European art. What was the main purpose of your study and why did you choose Land Art as a recurring medium for this exhibition?

Kasia Redzisz: When I started working on the concept of this exhibition for the Art Encounters Biennial, I studied the history of the city and its artistic traditions. I was impressed to discover that the activity of Sigma Group was very well known in this area, as was that of artist Ștefan Bertalan. During the students’ teaching practice, Bertalan enriched the artistic activity of the group, an activity that started from landscape as a subject, and then approached various experimental practices that had their origins in nature. This provided me with a good source of inspiration while I studied the analogy practice in the region, a very important element of the concept of the exhibition, along with the very well preserved local tradition in Timișoara.

GȚ: Both exhibitions that you curated as part of the Biennial have as a fundamental element the ecological aspect of art. We know that the Seasons End historical exhibition relies on the relationship between artist and nature, but how is this relationship reflected in the How to Be Together exhibition and how will the two exhibitions be connected at a conceptual level?

KR: My intention was that the two exhibitions should continue their dialogue, and my ambition was to prove the continuity of certain environmental issues also in How to Be Together, a performance that provides values that stay true in our age. The artists in the contemporary exhibition see nature as a source of inspiration or analyse different ways in which we can be better connected to nature and also with each other. This exhibition reflects upon several topics of the historical exhibition, such as the interest in environmental issues, ecofeminism or the sustainability of the materials used in adapting artworks to new contexts. I want the visitors of the Art Encounters Biennale to be able to understand the relationships that developed as a result of my extensive research activity, in which I have tried to dispel my didactic perception and leave room for their own interpretations.

GȚ: Most of the artists present in the Seasons End exhibition have political beliefs that determined them to generate activities involving nature or even to exhibit in an uninstitutionalized space, which belonged solely to them. How important was this aspect in choosing the works and artists that are part of this exhibition?

KR: This was indeed a leitmotif of the historical exhibition, but the artists had varied political positions at that time. Similarly, the context in which their works were created differed from one country to another. Consequently, the exhibition does not reflect each artist’s political attitude; the fact that most of them chose nature as an exhibition space reflects the practices and concerns of other countries, and at the same time suggests a material reaction to the limitations of communist ideologies. Their approaches can also be seen as a reaction to the constraints imposed by the political regime, namely the direct oppression of this system that excluded certain artistic practices and limited the exhibition spaces as well. However, what interested me more was the experimental aspect of the origins of these practices, rather than the individual political opinions.

GȚ: How has your Polish background influenced your interest in Central and Eastern European art?

KR: I studied art history in Poland, so obviously I am aware of what is happening in the country at the political level. Therefore, I hope I have a more accurate understanding of art and the regional political context. What truly stirred my interest in Central and Eastern European art was, paradoxically, my curatorial activity at Tate, where the focus of my research work for the collection was Central and Eastern Europe. At the same time, my mission was to analyse the artistic practices within an international context, and I think this helped me understand how exhibiting regional practices can be part of a transnational dialogue.

GȚ: How can artists give us answers to the questions raised by being together [How to Be Together]?

KR: I don’t know whether they can give us concrete answers or not, but what I like to think about art and artistic practices is that artists have a free manner of imagining utopian worlds. Many artists in the two exhibitions start from the idea of community and the ways of living in a society. This is relevant not only for their artistic activity, but also for them as individuals. Most of them have community-based practices. At the same time, they are still looking for different ways to contribute to society, but they consider alternative economic spaces or analyse how we can be more inspired by nature or use and coexist with it properly. I hope that by first studying the historical exhibition and then bringing all these elements into the contemporary exhibition, the visitors can relate to the ways of integrating artists within different contexts and understand how they can be together for themselves.