It is true to say, that Timisoara is a powerhouse of culture, beauty and art of all forms. One of its many beautiful galleries that I visited recently, Muzeul de Artă, houses some of the most beautiful examples of European art, dating from the 18th century right up to 2016. The building itself is a Baroque palace. The building’s name changed quite a lot over 300 years before it becoming an art gallery because of the various different dominant policies in place over the years and the growth and expansion of the city. I found the gallery to be intensely dynamic and versatile with a wide range of different styles and themes.
An exhibition, as part of the gallery, that I was truly impressed by was the literally breathtaking work by world renowned Romanian illustrator Tudor Banuș. His work portrays a stunning mixture of lucidity, ecstasy and zealous movement and action that I had never quite seen before. Judging by his works, one can assume that Banuș is a playful and inexhaustible creator of the surreal and fantastical. He portrays his subject matter with hypnotic and colourful activity that grabs my eye and demands to be explored. His work is full of depth and discovery, with a new angle, image and scene hidden in every corner. He plays around with the ordinary and extraordinary, creating something entirely unique and unheard of. It is clear that Banuș has a wealth of imaginative ability that is enjoyable to view and to explore.
One of his works that spoke to me profoundly was a powerful piece called Final Song. This piece portrays a half clothed blonde woman sitting on a document of some sort with an almost empty bottle of alcohol between her legs with a mans head replacing the neck of the bottle, weeping from the top of his head into the bottle cap. The woman is surrounded by treble clefs and music notes made from rope which all seem to be connected to the neck of the man that makes up the bottle.
My first guess on what this painting was about was that possibly the woman is grieving the loss of her husband to an alcohol induced suicide. The rope around the neck and the bottle shaped body tells me this clearly. Another thought I came up with was that maybe the woman herself is the alcoholic and the man who could be her partner is the person who feeds her habit. I feel that the woman could be under the influence of alcohol in the painting as her head is thrown back as if she was in a trance and the music motes around her head could suggest what is going on inside her head, because she is under the influence of alcohol, all she hears is music and light heartedness, but she cannot see the damage and turmoil that is happening right in front of her. Her partner wasting away into a pit of despair because of her habit. These are just two angles that I found to be at the forefront of the image that I felt best described the scene that was arranged by Banus so beautifully. It was one of my personal favourites because I felt like I was reaching out and empathising with the couple in the painting.
As a newcomer to Timisoara and to its world of art and culture, to say I was just impressed is an understatement. A powerfully unique and exciting display of a wide range of exuberant and breath taking art works that can suit all tastes and preferences. There is no doubt in my mind that the art world in Timisoara is growing and morphing itself into something new and exciting every day that attracts, seduces and captures its audience making them fall in love with what Timisoara has to offer as a major city of culture in our world today.
Helen Brady is an art student from Ireland, who visited Timisoara for 3 weeks and had an internship at META Spațiu. The main focus of this exchange programme, in collaboration with Asociatia pentru Promovarea Femeii din Romania, through Erasmus, was our annual art event Baroque||Urban, that takes place in Timisoara.