The concept proposed by curator Kasia Redzisz, How to be Together, in the exhibition hosted by the “Corneliu Miklosi” Public Transport Museum, explores notions such as community, social responsibility, ecology and sustainability in all aspects of artistic production and our life. The truthful nature of the exhibition raises a number of questions in the collective subconscious mind.

Times like these are not the only source of inspiration for artists. The temptation to keep diaries of isolation, make lists of papers on epidemiology or speculate about the crisis we are going through now is overcome. Artworks like Agata Ingarden’s Like Mushrooms after Rain, Ndidi Emefiele’s Roam, Gizela Mickiewicz’s sculptures or Iva Lulashi’s paintings will generate new meanings and connections with the public and will meet the responsibility of art criticism. Although displayed at the French Institute, Garden, a delicate reinterpretation of a flower garden, created by artist Wojciech Ireneusz Sobczyk (2017), is also part of Kasia Redzisz’s concept How to be Together. “As a child I used to work in a garden with my parents. I always was an inquisitive boy, so I wanted them to explain literally everything to me. It turned out that I learned a lot about plants and gardens at that time. […] When we grow plants in a garden we get rid of weeds. This, in fact, can be considered eugenics of sorts. In a specific context we get rid of plants which naturally are herbs, for example,” said the artist in an interview.

The message all this conveys is that times like these, however strictly defined they may be, consolidate our critical thinking and exercise of imagination and, above all, turn our attention to the conditions of our everyday life in which we try to coexist. Alternative ways of existence with and in nature, as well as mechanisms for functioning within societies and communities are explored.

The exhibition is not just a platform for presenting 28 artists from Central-Eastern Europe. It also presents key elements of the strategy to change how societies operate in a constantly changing world, and the questions behind the artworks deal with support and self-sustainability systems.

In the past months, we have become accustomed to using an expression that, prior to the pandemic, was probably most common in the letters we sent to people far away from us. The times we live in are reflected in words with negative connotations: “uncertain”, “unknown”, “difficult” and other synonyms, along with expressions that have never been more adapted to reality, such as “I hope my message finds you well”, or messages on social platforms ending in #staysafe.

Naturally, these expressions become clichés that lose their significance along the way. Sometimes, the reality we face seems unreal, but the impact it has had on communities ultimately provides power, identity and the purpose of finding solutions together. The How to be Together concept does not provide a solution, but a series of proposals to find coexistence strategies as a measure against climate emergency, the difficulties of the medical or financial system and, more recently, the refugee crisis.