THE TWIST. Five Provincial Stories from an Empire
curated by Călin Dan and Celia Ghyka
13. 10. 2023 – 11. 02. 2024
”Starting from the geological, topographical, morphological and geopolitical evidence provided by the triangular region historically called the Romanian Banat, we identified several elements that seemed to emerge out of the historical trajectory of this cultural construction: the twist, the conversion, the comeback — that may all be related to Plato’s concept of ‘turning around of the soul’ (that he defines in his famous dialogue ‘The Republic’).
Similar figurative, morphological, and spiritual movements may be retraced historically in the symbolic or professional languages of religion, rhetoric, philosophy, psychology, and science.
The TWIST. Five Provincial Stories from an Empire surveys the visual wingspan of the topic, examining how various motifs of the ‘turning around’ are reflected into the cultural developments of the historical Banat. The format is a cross-temporal, trans-disciplinary, cross-media exhibition, where the coexistence of genres, techniques and historical periods are assembled into a complex, multi-layered installation.
Based on a vast research of historical, bibliographical, visual, and literary sources, and of the heritage preserved in the public and private collections from the region, The TWIST spans an interval starting from Antiquity (pre-Roman and Roman), reaching into post-WW2 modernity, and bringing together archaeological, ethnographic, domestic and mass-produced artefacts, with artworks created between the 19th and the 21st century.
The show gathers a large number of artefacts (around one hundred) displayed in an original and exciting architectural setting. They have been identified and selected according to various criteria, ranging from iconographical (spiral, twist, circle, intersection), functional (cylinder, sphere, column, vault, door, hinge, wheel, clock, compass) to actions that may be utilitarian (mowing, weaving, twisting, sifting, sowing, milling, lathe working, fishing, etc.), ritualistic (dancing, praying, drumming, magical conjuring), individual sports or intellectual activities such as reading, writing, etc. to ontological (conversion, resurrection, transfiguration, return, recovery, repetition) and political (exodus, emigration, immigration, redemption, penance, revenge).
The narrative threads of this visual and poetical journey are to be read as connecting five layers or levels that establish various links, some more immediately apparent than others: protohistory (archaeological and geological pieces), pre-modernity (ethnographic and vernacular pieces), locally crafted modernity (household inventory, fashion, furniture), above history (immaterial heritage, such as music or poetry) and now (contemporary art).
The Twist, spiritual but also morphological, is the identifying mark of a surprisingly large number of Romanian contemporary artists. Works by Horia Bernea, Ștefan Bertalan, Ion Condiescu, Roman Cotoșman, Cristian Dițoiu, Constantin Flondor, Dani Ghercă, Ion Grigorescu, Ana Maria Micu, Ciprian Mureșan, Paul Neagu, Sorin Neamțu, Mihai Olos, Șerban Savu, Liviu Stoicoviciu, Napoleon Tiron will complete by contrast this cultural itinerary delivered in a site-specific installation in the spaces of Kunsthalle Bega.”
(Călin Dan, Celia Ghyka)
The exhibition opens on Friday, October 13 2023, at 7 pm, at Kunsthalle Bega as part of the Timișoara – European Capital of Culture program and will be on view until February 11, from Wednesday to Sunday, 12 pm to 6 pm.