Kunsthalle Bega presents “The TWIST. Five Provincial Stories from an Empire”

Calina Foundation via Kunsthalle Bega presents: “THE TWIST. Five Provincial Stories from an Empire” (authors Călin Dan and Celia Ghyka), a visual research project shaped into an exhibition that explores the symbolic levels gathered in the culture of the Banat region over time.

Kunsthalle Bega, Timișoara, 13.10.2023 — 11.02.2024

Concept: Călin Dan

Curators: Călin Dan & Celia Ghyka

”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.


Kunsthalle Bega is an alternative and experimental art space founded in 2019 at Timisoara by Alina Cristescu, Liviana Dan and Bogdan Rața through the Calina Foundation. Dedicated to supporting artistic production and understanding the current problems of the creative spectrum from a curatorial perspective, it awards the Bega Art Prize to a Romanian curator who manages to change curatorial perception. Involved in educational projects with diverse communities, Kunsthalle Bega promotes the significant importance of art publications.


Visual artist with a background in art history and theory, Călin Dan reached international recognition with his work in the group subREAL, and independently with the long-term projects Emotional Architecture (2002-present), Anturaju’ and Other Stories (2006-2010), and Collective Authorship (2012-present). After 1989, he acted as advisor to the Mondriaan Fund and Pro Helvetia, and as a leader to cultural institutions like “Arta” magazine and the Soros Centre for Contemporary Art, Bucharest. Currently, he is the director of the National Museum of Contemporary Art – MNAC Bucharest. His work was showcased at the Biennales of Venice, Istanbul, Sao Paolo, Sydney, and at the festivals: Ars Electronica, Linz; DEAF (Dutch Electronic Arts Festival), and Film Festival, Rotterdam; Media, film and video festival Osnabruck; Internationale Kurzfilmtages, Oberhausen; OSTranenie. Video Forum an der Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau, Videonnale Bonn, etc. Recipient of the Special Media Award of the Experimental Film Festival, Split (2000) and of the Videonnale Bonn award (2001).

Călin’s work focuses on the role of contemporary art in making the 21st century better. At MNAC, he elaborated recuperation strategies, giving a platform to local conceptual artists from the 1970s and 1980s while starting a regional network meant to define a significant cultural pole for artists and curators active in the former communist countries. His most recent projects focused on (among others) Horia Bernea, Ion Bitzan, Alexandru Chira, Ion Grigorescu, Jiři Kovanda, Iulian Mereuță, Ciprian Mureșan, Deimantas Narkevičius Mihai Olos, Șerban Savu, Liviu Stoicoviciu.

Celia Ghyka is an independent curator, architectural theorist, researcher and academic based in Bucharest, Romania. Adept in organising events, curating exhibitions, writing and managing cultural projects, as well as editorial work and cultural diplomacy, she worked in Luxembourg and Romania, and participated in international curatorial groups. Member of the National Commission for Public Monuments and other cultural and academic committees and juries. She is an alumna of the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles (2019), New Europe College in Bucharest (2002, 2012-2013), Fondazione Bogliasco (2021).

Her interests refer to monument, collective memory, contemporary public space, public monuments and sculpture, history of art and architecture, the social history of architecture, themes that she has approached in several writings published in Romanian academic journals and books, as well as through exhibitions and cultural projects.


Institutional Partners: The National Museum of Banat, Timișoara; The Museum of the Iron Gates Region, Drobeta Turnu Severin; The Banat Mountain Museum, Reșița; The History, Ethnography and Visual Arts Museum, Lugoj; The National Technical Museum “Pr. ing. Dimitrie Leonida”, Bucharest; Arad Museum of Art; private collectors.

Media Partners: Radio România Cultural, Revista ARTA, Zeppelin, Observator cultural, Modernism.ro, Propagarta, IQads/SMARK, Renașterea Bănățeană, Agenția de Carte.ro

Partners: BRD – Groupe Société Générale, Kerber Verlag

Sponsors: Bega, PINTeam, Egeria, Flexik, VendTeam

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