At the fourth edition of the Art Encounters Biennial, ISHO offices host Landscape in a Convex Mirror, an exhibition curated by Mihnea Mircan, which includes the works of 42 Romanian and international artists. With a concept that appeared in response to the pandemic conditions and restrictions, the exhibition shows how distance is reflected in contemporary art. The works on display explore the rupture between us and the world, a bewildered figure on a blurred background. The notion of vertigo seems to be the centre of attention. Static images alternate with dynamic ones, emphasising the uncertainty of the self in search for its place.

One of the installations created especially for Art Encounters in 2021 is The Predictive Conditional, by Alice Gancevici and Remus Pușcariu. The multimedia installation investigates two ways of adapting the human body to stress, establishing a correspondence between the natural and the technical processes that allows their visualization through a scenographic solution. Three moving screens illustrate the pilomotor reflex (“goosebumps”) and the homeostasis (the property of the body to maintain steady internal conditions), while three voices corresponding to the three layers of the skin discuss the overstimulation of the body as an effect of contemporary life in opposition to the absence of sensory stimuli in the quarantine period.

The installation of the artist Laure Prouvost, Ring, Sing and Drink for Trespassing (2018), a tapestry of monumental dimensions with a web of branches in the middle, gives the impression that nature conquers the architecture of the gallery. Intimate and exuberant at the same time, the tapestry contains messages for the viewers, converses with them and invites them to transgress the bounds, to step through it to reach behind it. This trespassing, this crossing – sometimes illegal – of a barrier seems to bring hope and promise a better world.

Artist Jonathan van Doornum displays several of his sculptures in the exhibition, one of them being Round Transmitter (2021). Using a variety of techniques, van Doornum creates a contrast between the “cold” hard materials and the human imprint left on his works. Exploring various methods of communication via data flows that connect us or signals transmitted and received, the artist often uses the motif of the aerial or the halo that both suggest the transmission of invisible information. Through its shape and title, Round transmitter reminds of a satellite dish, an instrument that facilitates communication between two distant points.

Just as Parmigianino, in his famous anamorphosis Self-portrait in a Convex Mirror (1524), whose title inspired this exhibition, illustrates a distorted reality, so the works exhibited here render the current uncertain atmosphere, the crisis of representation felt in recent times, the reality in which we live and we can no longer call normal. The projection programme entitled One day the day will come when the day will not come is part of the Landscape in a Convex Mirror exhibition and can be watched at the FABER space and the ISHO pavilion.