Symmetrical, never identical

Artists: Ioana Bătrânu, Adela Giurgiu, Agnès Varda (insert video)  

Curator: Diana Marincu

Exhibition dates: 10 november 2022 – 4 march 2023

Organiser: Art Encounters Foundation
Financer: Centrul de Proiecte al Municipiului Timișoara
Sponsors: ISHO, Thesaurus, Illy
Media partners: TVR Timișoara, Radio România Cultural, RFI România, Observator Cultural, Zeppelin, Modernism, Revista Arta, The Institute, Propagarta
Graphic design: Karina Isar

The exhibition “Symmetrical, never identical” is part of the Art Encounters Foundation’s curatorial and strategic initiative to foster connections between different generations of artists, whose works can thus be contextualized conceptually, not only chronologically.

Ioana Bătrânu (b. 1960) is known for a valiant, prolific, and significant work, publicly present since the mid-1980s, in a tough period, which left its mark on the artist’s destiny. Ioana Batrânu’s painting absorbs everyday reality, the marginality of existence, and the contradictions of our spaces, marked by imposed and self-imposed social norms. The tension of her paintings is enhanced by the expression of her brushwork and chosen chromatics, and the recurrence of themes (Melancholic Interiors, Virgins, Closed Gardens, Dolls, and others) establishes a personal style of exceptional value and vitality. The spatial typologies the artist chooses to work with are reminiscent of those “species of spaces” that Georges Perec saw as extensions of memory: “space as inventory, space as invention.”

Adela Giurgiu (b.1990) returns almost obsessively to several themes that occupy her pictorial workspace and which, viewed together, seem to outline a universe marked by alienation, duality, isolation, and dreaming, all amplified by the tensions of spaces in which they reside. The shadow motif can suggest both the Jungian archetype and a metaphor of time as if inspired by Haruki Murakami’s writings about timeless worlds and subterranean levels, where the shadow clips out on the boundary between reality and fiction. Adela Giurgiu’s recent paintings (the cycles You and Your Shadow, Lost but Found, Apparition, and others) contribute to a dialogue with Ioana Batrânu’s favorite themes, nurturing the same lonely and heavy atmosphere, in which only the imagination can cut small slits of light.

The exhibition’s title was inspired by a quote from the short film Les Dites Cariatides by Agnès Varda (1928-2019), where the explorations of caryatids in Paris suggest a closer look at the sometimes invisible support structures on which all human existence relies.