ART ENCOUNTERS | Appearance & Essence | 3-31 OCTOBER 2015 TIMISOARA | ARAD
A former factory built sometime in the 1920s or 1930s, probably with some Bauhaus architectural influence, is to be transformed into a living and working complex with an integrated contemporary art centre functioning in the original storage halls.
Curators: Rainald Schumacher & Nathalie Hoyos
TEBA Factory, Arad
3-31 October, 11:00-19:00 (closed on Mondays)
That’s the story; that tells it all. This has been a kind of model for the fast-forwarding of many previously grimy and unwelcoming factory sites into the gleaming world of young, creative industries.
This could also be the storyline for the TEBA Factory in Arad, a genuinely impressive yet in a way modest block of buildings located near the River Mures. But such a storyline can only develop into a bestseller if the script takes into account the many individual characteristics, differences and obstacles involved. In particular, the programme and structure of an art institution have to be adapted to suit the day-to-day situation and the many and diverse activities of the area and region it is located in. People living nearby should be encouraged to develop the feeling that this contemporary art centre has become part of their identity. Children too should enjoy visiting it. The educational programme on offer should make participants eager to learn more about our world. People of all ages should become familiar with the centre as a place of open communication and should be confronted with the controversial issues that are often addressed by contemporary art. Such a cultural centre should extend its welcome far beyond any barriers, whether political or ideological. It should become an active player and powerful engine for the creation of culture and of new ideas and concepts about the world in which we live.
A successful storyline of this kind cannot be written in a vacuum. Besides being based on a clear vision, it also has to be developed on-site as a cultural laboratory experiment carried out with the aid of specific players, in this case people living and working in Arad and the surrounding region and others coming from abroad.
First Cut marks an initial intervention and integration, with artworks by just a few artists. It is the first step in the long march towards achieving a cultural hub such as has been discussed. The artists who have generously agreed to lend their works are from Bosnia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Romania, Serbia, Kosovo and Ukraine. They are thus representative of the wider region for which this future art institution might become a leading artistic centre
But First Cut has a local and not merely an international perspective. In the past few months, since the project came to life, a number of artists, architects and culturally engaged individuals and groups working and living in Arad have already initiated a lively programme that includes regular film screenings, art exhibitions and discussions. First Cut will reflect these kinds of important local activities and collaborate with them. The exhibition at the TEBA Factory will extend over the two interconnected former storage halls and will integrate these initiatives.
Before any vision for a future art centre can be transformed into reality, the organisers need both to listen and to talk. While discussion cannot replace action, it is an important means of reflecting different possible ways of going forward, with the aim of reaching a feasible conception of the project that will be accepted and welcomed by the artistic community and also by the general public. During the exhibition period, a conference involving international curators and institution directors, together with representatives of the Arad cultural community, will initiate conversations of this kind. Talks and discussion will regularly accompany the further development of the project. (Rainald Schumacher / Nathalie Hoyos)