The third issue of ARTSENS includes a number of interesting articles about the exhibitions of the Art Encounters Biennial, to which it wants to be an introduction, a useful instrument for those interested in what is happening in Timisoara this autumn. The city offers not only numerous exhibitions of young and well-known artists from Romania and abroad, whose works reflect Mircea Mircan’s and Kasia Redzisz’s curatorial concepts, but also an opportunity to become familiar with the exhibition spaces or the models of cooperation between different fields. These events not only make Timișoara more attractive, but also provide a real public venue, giving us the opportunity to view the city from a new perspective and to discover its less obvious, or apparently less accessible, faces. 

The articles in this issue are dedicated to art displayed in public spaces. Through their many examples, the authors present their evolution, along with moments that help us understand why in a certain part of the world art moved to the streets, as it happened in the United States especially during the civil and human rights movements of the 1960’s, and why in other regions, such as Eastern Europe, art withdrew to personal spaces, far from the control of state institutions.

How can we understand these two completely opposed attitudes? What kind of behaviour towards visibility in the artistic field do they determine? What does vanishing from the government’s radar and, implicitly, defying its control, achieved through cultural policies, mean? What are the reactions of the artists in the communist bloc to a totalitarian regime? What did the artists’ gesture to withdraw and choose self-exclusion from the public space mean in Romania, and why did the artists on the other side of the world choose to be present in the public space and become more visible? How did that change the presence of artworks in public space? What role did art play in this way and what effects did it have on how to exhibit and understand a work of art?

What are the key moments of art’s appearance in public space? How is it used, how can art become an instrument of social change and its engine? What kind of attitudes become defining in this process? What kinds of changes occur in society and how are they reflected in public space? You can read about these in the articles by Cătălin Alb, Dani Gagiu and Marina Moldovan. 

You can find out about public space in general and the (in)formative effects that the built environment has upon us, its inhabitants, from Miruna Moraru’s article, which describes how spaces become affective, how they leave their mark on us and how the urban space in particular turns into a map in the process of deciphering social, ethnic or religious relationships.

Coexistence and how urban and natural spaces shape it are aspects addressed in the article by Ioana Terheș and Ada Muntean, which presents architect Miodrag Stoianov’s and French artist Suzanne Husky’s artistic approaches. In the interview, you can read about their cooperation and in situ works, which deal with natural resource exploitation, the use of landscape and the concept of globalisation, as well as the need to create art that is not easily destroyed. To understand the concepts used to describe certain works like the one mentioned above, land art or ecological art works, you can read Xenia Tinca’s text about site-specific art – which was established in the 1970’s, but is still present at festivals and in exhibition halls – and how it can be preserved for posterity.

Come and visit the Art Encounters Biennial, where you will have the opportunity to admire works that will definitely capture your attention!