If you are not part of the bubble of what we call the world of contemporary art today, you may have often wondered, “What’s the deal with contemporary art?” A good question, whose answer you may have even tried to find. Maybe you started doing research into contemporary art, but you discovered new terms that only added to your confusion. Try thinking of the themes of this year’s Art Encounters Biennial. They sound overwhelming, don’t they? You are suddenly faced with various terms that you don’t know how to deal with, and one of them may be what has been called site-specific art since the 1970’s.

Site-specific art can be defined in different ways, but all the definitions will have one thing in common: they will say that it is a type of art created especially for a certain location. The best definition is that of the Guggenheim Museum, according to which site-specific art as an artistic intervention in a specific location, resulting in a work of art that is integrated into the environment around it. The role of this art is to explore its relationship with topography and to restructure, through the artist’s intervention, the viewer’s experience related to the location. In other words, unlike conventional works of art that you see displayed everywhere, from museums to offices in large multinationals, site-specific art is created especially and exclusively for a certain space. Changes its location, and it will lose a good deal of its significance.

Do you remember how annoyed you were when your mother moved your things around? You were upset because you kept them organised in a certain way, with a certain purpose in mind, according to your own vision. It’s the same with site-specific art. You do not move it! Why? Because it’s placed there for a reason, just like the things in your room were. And just like the things in your room, site-specific art turns the space around it into a unique experience primarily for you, the viewer. It would be a shame not to have that experience, wouldn’t it?

If you wonder where you can find site-specific art, the answer is easier than you might think. You will discover it under various shapes and in many places, from biennials to festivals. Do you remember that installation with lights you saw at the last festival you attended? Can you imagine it in a different context? If you can’t, then it was probably site-specific. Are you interested in topography-based artwork? Visit the Art Encounters Biennial. One of the artists there is Wojciech Ireneusz Sobczyk from Poland. He plays with various media, including installation, animation and sculpture. His works, which rely on traditional techniques and themes, aim to answer fundamental questions about human nature, the essence of beauty and art. The artist’s site-specific installation, Garden (2017), is exhibited at the French Institute. Besides exceptional finesse, it has a special quality. Displayed in the rooms of the institute, like a Garden of Eden made of papier mâché, this work has been conceived to destroy itself gradually during the biennial. You should see it as soon as possible. Maybe you can go there every week, to see what stage it has reached.

Site-specific art cannot be moved, but some artworks may be short-lived and preserved in documentary form. If you come across such examples at the biennial, don’t be surprised. Now you may be wondering, “How is it site-specific, since it’s just documentation?”. Well, that’s a different thing altogether. Visit the Art Encounters Biennial, study the exhibits and start a debate on this topic among yourselves. No answer or opinion is wrong. After all, in war and art anything is possible. Or is it?