The Third Woman – Actionism, performance, and attitudes

The exhibition continues the collaborations that the Art Encounters Foundation has established with various institutions and art galleries across Europe with the aim of creating a platform for dialogue dedicated to the Romanian art scene, as well as a dynamic context for artistic and curatorial research. 

The Third Woman includes a valuable selection of pieces from the Charim Collection in Vienna, alongside an excerpt from the Ovidiu Șandor Collection and several invited works by Romanian contemporary artists. At the core of the exhibition lie the influential works of VALIE EXPORT, a pioneer of feminist art, who has used her own body in a radical and polarizing manner, dismantling the traditional concepts of femininity within a male-dominated discourse. The title of the exhibition has been inspired by the famous 1949 British espionage film The Third Man, directed by Carol Reed after a script signed by Graham Greene, with Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Orson Welles and Trevor Howard. The action is set in Vienna, in the post-war period, against a backdrop marked by the trauma of bombardments. By analogy, within the exhibition, VALIE EXPORT plays the role of “the third woman”, becoming the link that connects both the famous and the less known stories of recent Romanian and Austrian art. 

The exhibition brings together works by the representatives of Viennese Actionism from the movement’s early days, and includes important names of the 70s and 80s associated with performance art, installation or gestural painting, as well as contemporary pieces. Categorically rejecting moral taboos, Christian rigour and the clinical image of the body, Viennese artists aimed to transgress all the limits of art. The artworks created by the Romanian artists included in the exhibition as part of their subversive underground explorations during the Communist era and in the immediate aftermath of the regime’s fall are consistent with the radical attitudes that the Actionists exhibited as a reaction to the conservative context of post-war Viennese society. 

The Charim Collection, which has been developed over a long period of time, is characterised by an interest for the novel and experimental dimension of art, as well as by the performative nature of artistic gestures and actions. Organising the exhibition in the future European Capital of Culture represents a unique opportunity to open a cultural dialogue between two cities that share significant resemblances. At the same time, it constitutes a meeting point for 20th century radical art movements that is enhanced by the presence of a contemporary art selection. 

The Third Woman – Actionism, performance, and attitudes

Artists: Matthew Antezzo, Alexandru Antik, Maja Bajević, Rosa Barba, John Bock, Geta Brătescu, Günter Brus, André Cadere, VALIE EXPORT, Peter Weibel, Heinz Frank, Dorothee Golz, Ion Grigorescu, Ana Lupaș, Tracey Moffatt, Hermann Nitsch, Miklós Onucsán, Rudolf Polanszky, Lisl Ponger, Dieter Roth & Arnulf Rainer, Christoph Schlingensief, Rudolf Schwarzkogler, Decebal Scriba, Patricia Teodorescu, Milica Tomić, Doru Tulcan, Sorin Vreme, Franz West & Andreas Reiter Raabe.

Curators: Ami Barak, Diana Marincu, Gia Țidorescu

Dates: 17 June – 7 August 2021

Location: Art Encounters Foundation, 46C Take Ionescu Blvd., Timișoara, 300 124

The Third Woman is part of the Art in Action cultural project, which has been co-financed by the Administration of the National Cultural Fund. 

Organiser: Art Encounters Foundation 
Sponsor of the permanent programme: Banca Transilvania
Co-financer: The Administration of the National Cultural Fund
Institutional partners: Charim Gallery, the Austrian Cultural Forum
Sponsors: ISHO, Thesaurus Wines, Illy, Agasi, Melbo Instal
Media partners: The Institute, RFI România, Radio România Cultural, Zeppelin,
Graphic design: Bogdan Matei