Timisoara 2023 – European Capital of Culture – diversity and multiculturalism

November 13, 2023

If there is a city in the middle of Europe where everyone can feel just as at home and where local people share and practice their multiculturalism and diversity – it should be Timisoara. For centuries this Romanian city in western province of Banat was melting pot of cultures and civilisations – from Romanians, Hungarians to Serbians and Germans. And all of them share mutual interest, culture, heritage, music and gastronomy. Each community shine with their own light and color but all together – they are forming beautiful mosaic of multiculturality which can be idea, guidence and goal for numerous countries and communities in Europe and worldwide. That is just one of the reason why Timisoara is chosen to be one of the European Capitals of Culture for 2023. Beside its diverse background, Timisoara is perfect playground for artists, creative thinkers, entrepeneurs and international guests, as all of them can find their own space and work together.

The capital of the historical province of Banat, Timișoara is the residence of Timiș County and the cultural and economic centre of the western part of Romania. With a population of more then 300,000, the city crossed by the Bega River has long maintained its reputation as a western, cross-border, young and entrepreneurial city. The city was built over an ancient Roman fortress, and the first documentary attestation dates back to the 12th century. Timișoara owns the largest ensemble of old buildings in Romania, consisting of the urban ensembles of the Cetate, Iosefin, Elisabetin and Fabric neighbourhoods. The varied architecture, the influences of the Viennese Baroque and the multitude of parks have earned Timișoara the reputation of “Little Vienna” and the “City of Parks”. It is a multicultural city, influenced by various ethnic communities, such as German, Hungarian and Serbian, but also Bulgarian, Italian, Greek and Roma. Also, Orthodox believers, Catholics, Jews, Protestants, Lutherans, Reformed, Muslims and other denominations practise their religion in harmony. InTimișoara, the meaning of the word “tolerance” has evolved to “fraternity”.

During the 2023, thousands of cultural programs, exhibitions, film and theater festivals are ideal opportunity for all international tourists to discover Timisoara and Romania. Moto of this year Capital of Culture – Timisoara 2023 is Shine your light – Light up your city! Because all of us can illuminate the city together with our glowing curiosity, love of art and respect for diversity, with determination to take a step forward and take a stance for our common European values.Sometimes big changes start on street corners. In 1884, Timișoara was the first city on mainland Europe to have electric street lighting. In 1989, the sparks of the Revolution against Ceaușescu’s regime were ignited on the streets of Timișoara.

2023. is still not over. During November and December you have opportunity to visit numerous exhibitions, film festivals, theater plays but also to try local culinary scene, try diferent caffees, restaurants and visit Christmas market. One of the most important exhibition that you shouldnt miss is exhibition of famous Romanian sculptor – Brancusi. The exhibition “Brâncuși: Romanian Sources and Universal Perspectives” seeks to illustrate the particularity of the artist who managed to create pure forms, freed from any influence. Through the dialogue that he establishes with matter and that allows him to extract the essence of beings and objects, Brâncuși crosses all geographical, historical, formal, and gender boundaries, which ensures him a special place, not attaching him to any artistic current.

The exhibition will bring to the public’s awareness different stages of Brâncuși’s artistic career: from the works created under the influence of education at the School of Fine Arts in Bucharest to the confrontation with Rodin’s sculpture and up to his radical decision to abandon modeling and adopt the method of direct grinding – which marks his symbolic return to the primitive arts and opens, at the same time, the way to modernity. An exciting and original selection of photographs and fragments filmed by the artist will be exhibited in dialogue with the sculptures. The exhibition will benefit from exceptional loans from the National Museum of Modern Art, Center Pompidou in Paris, Tate in London, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Art Museum in Bucharest, and the Art Museum in Craiova, as well as from private collections.

But beside 20th century sculpture art of well known Brancusi, Timisoara is also place where young, inovative artist have opportunity to shine. Exhibition Sculpture after / after sculpture is unique opportunity to see what is idea and concept of sculpture artist in 21st century. In how many ways does sculpture continue to exist? For centuries, sculpture has been revered as a monument, a symbolic representation aimed at immortalising a notable place or event in our consciousness. Does sculpture still uphold the validity of this convention? Are the boundaries within which sculpture was formerly perceived still adhered to?What happens after the grand models have achieved their ultimate forms of expression? Does Romanian sculpture still hold relevance in the present day, following Brancusi’s experience? To address these inquiries, the project “after SCULPTURE / SCULPTURE after” offers a series of exhibition events spanning seven months, running from May 4th to November 30th, 2023, at Cazarma U in Timisoara (Piața Mărăști nr. 2).

Over the course of the seven months, the project will also feature guest artists in temporary exhibitions such as Andreea Albani, Andrei Arion, Radu Comșa, Arantxa Etcheverria, Camilia Filipov, Vlad Olariu, Bogdan Rața, Larisa Sitar, and Lera Kelemen (curated by Horațiu Lipot in the exhibition AWOL – Absent Without Official Leave), as well as Terence Muskiwa (curated by Catinca Tăbăcaru). In addition, performance artists Alex Miruțiu and Gabriela Vanga will be presenting their work.

Contemporary art and inclusion of different artist is something that it is important for this year Capital of Culture. Contemporaneity today consists of countless simultaneous ways of being, creating, seeing, and appreciating the same world, of social and cultural pluralities. And we try to keep up with a Present that becomes, in fast, unpredictable, incessant evolution, as incomprehensible as a hyperobject. We live a contemporaneity of differences, in a world that divide and polarize us, in a system that tends to put us in competition rather than as part of a composition. Then, what could the concept of composition (still) mean today? In contemporary art, in socio-political dynamics, in our personal lives? Here-and-now at Timișoara Garrison Command, with its own historical and architectural particularities, in the “center” of Timișoara, a (temporarily) cultural “capital”, how can the (international) exhibition and the exhibition space, as a place of togetherness, become an intersection of these major themes in the arts of today: the imperative need for composition/aggregation of communalities/similarities and differentiations, for inclusion, collaboration, and non-hierarchical acceptance, decolonization, and decentering? Can we see ourselves together, in compositions, inspired by the coexistence of such a multitude (and variety) of mediums/medialities, approaches, artistic, curatorial, and institutional discourses of today’s art worlds, where they do not negate or cancel each other out? Let’s imagine ourselves together in anthropo-/socio-political compositions of multiple narratives, in human-nonhuman compositions, and find our own individuations in compositions of coexistent tempor(e)alities. Individual all-around in Timișoara – European Capital of Culture 2023.

Beside galleries, museums and street art performance venues, Timisoara is perfect spot for all theater lovers as all the best local and regional directors will have their time to shine. One of the best plays of Serbian director Kokan Mladenović – Birds is just the example of quality that Timisoara 2023 brings to its audience. Performed in Hungarian, with Romanian and English surtitles „In Aristophanes’ Birds, two exhausted men, who’ve had enough of living in endless wartime, decide to build a Cloud Cuckoo Land, the first utopia in the history of art. 2500 years later, we are now living a war which seems to have no end, only changing its form and geographical territory, we are tired, defeated and dreaming of our utopia. What will happen? Is it possible to build a world where everyone is equal, where there is no war, no fighting? If so, why can’t we make it happen?” – director Kokan Mladenović.

Film is important for Romania and Balkan cultures. Possibility to express in motion pictures is ideal way of diverse collaboration of different countries in south-east Europe. Majority of films of TAIFAS Balkan Film and Culture Festival are coproductions. TAIFAS Balkan Film and Culture Festival will have its first edition – “New Beginnings”, on 5-12 November 2023, in Timisoara – in the year the city holds the title of European Capital of Culture. TAIFAS is a story about people, places, and connections, about shared histories, about pains and pleasures. The festival brings art films closer to the public, connects diverse communities, and supports the new generation of filmmakers.

Audiences can watch 14 of the most recent Balkan productions of the year, premiered in Romania, awarded at prestigious festivals such as Cannes Film Festival, Berlinale, Göteborg Film Festival, Tallinn Black Nights, Pula Film Festival, Sarajevo International Film Festival and Thessaloniki International Film Festival.