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LAYERS OF REALITY I An Exhibition of Innovation (RCINY x WUT I FAD x SVA)

Updated: Sep 27, 2023

Europe's Cultural Capital reaches out to the New York art scene


Artists: Aura Bălănescu, Dorian Bolca, Hershel Carbajal, Cosmin Haiaș, Kristie Kish, Andreea Medar, Jintong Yang

Curators: Lotte Marie Allen, LJ McNerney, Maria Orosan-Telea

September 8 – 28, 2023 | Brâncuşi Gallery

Home to game-changing aesthetic movements like The Sigma Group and to seminal artistic figures like the Romanian-British artist Paul Neagu, multicultural and multiethnic Timișoara has been, for decades, the epicenter of visual arts creativity in Romania. As this westernmost Romanian city bears the title of Europe’s cultural capital in 2023, we follow up on our series of events dedicated to the main "artistic schools" in Romania with LAYERS OF REALITY, an exhibition illustrating the contemporary vibrancy and relevance of a major artistic tradition set up by a creative team associated with the West University of Timișoara’s Faculty of Arts and Design.

Looking at how technological imagery interferes with artistic production to develop new ways of addressing a multi-layered reality that calls for a gradual discovery, the exhibition, which opens at our Brâncuşi Gallery between September 8 - 28, 2023, is a joint project, presented together with the School of Visual Arts in New York. Curated by Maria Orosan-Telea, Lotte Marie Allen, and LJ McNerney, the exhibition features Romanian artists Aura Bălănescu, Dorian Bolca, Cosmin Haiaș, and Andreea Medar, Faculty of Arts and Design UVT alumni, and local artists Hershel Carbajal, Kristie Kish, and Jintong Yang, master students at the Computer Arts Department at SVA.

The opening of the exhibition is on September 8, with keynote remarks by Professor Marilen Pirtea, the Rector of the West University of Timișoara (UVT), and Professor Camil Mihăescu, the Dean of UVT’s Faculty of Arts and Design.

Graphic design by Cezara Carla Pădurean

OPENING EVENT | September 8, 2023

6:30 pm – Doors open

7 - 8 pm – Opening speeches

8 - 9 pm – Exhibition view


Aura Bălănescu, WARMING!, interactive multimedia installation, in multimedia group exhibition: Oasis. Green Identity, Stațiunea Tinerilor Naturaliști, Timișoara, Romania, 2021 / thermochromic touch devices, midi controller, video-mapping sensor

Aura BĂLĂNESCU graduated from the Sculpture Department of the West University in Timișoara’s Faculty of Arts and Design in 2003. She works with interactive-immersive installations and uses various participatory strategies, which are applied through a perceptual extension induced by sensors and other digital devices. Through this technological augmentation, participants are given the opportunity to contribute to the creation of pseudo-sculptural works and to their subsequent dispersion in a multimedia environment, in effect generating a synesthetic effect. Aura’s works have been presented in exhibitions and festivals such as From Revolution to Revolutions (MultipleXity, Timișoara, Romania, 2019), In Vitro Veritas (North Station, Timișoara, Romania, 2019), Br41n.IO Hackathon (Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria, 2019), The Use of Man (Danube Dialogues, Novi Sad, Serbia, 2018), Elektro Arts (Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 2018), as well as in international conferences, such as "Zip-Scene Analogue & Digital Immersive Environments", MOME (Budapest, Hungary, 2018), "Light Edu Symposium" organized by the Order of Romanian Architects (Timișoara, Romania, 2018), "Stereo & Immersive Media" (Lisbon, Portugal, 2018), RE: TRACE Media Art Histories (Krems, Austria, 2017) and "RE: NEW Media Art Histories" (Riga, Latvia, 2013).

Dorian Bolca, Electric Roots, light sculpture, 2022 / recycled paper, leds

Dorian BOLCA graduated from the Sculpture Department of the West University of Timișoara’s Faculty of Arts and Design in 2019. His bachelor's project received the prize of the Calina Foundation. His work investigates the idea of coexistence between technology and nature. His installations often use sensors attached to the Arduino controller. Dorian is a member of the NAVA C2 art collective with which he performs interventions in urban spaces. He constantly takes part in tree planting and reforestation campaigns. His works have been presented in exhibitions and festivals such as Young Blood. The art of your time (Art Safari, Bucharest, 2019), Later Edit (Kunsthalle Bega, Timișoara, Romania, 2020), Diploma Festival (Bucharest, Romania, 2021), Where ART Thou? (Rezidența9, Bucharest, Romania, 2022).

Hershel Carbajal, Revisiting Central Park's History: Seneca Village, mixed new media, 2023

Hershel CARBAJAL is an interdisciplinary artist and computer scientist from Germantown, Maryland. Carbajal integrates storytelling principles, filmmaking techniques, and historical perspectives with contemporary interactive technology. They believe that artistic experimentation pushes the boundaries of technology, and technological advancements inspire art. In their most recent project, they use a data-driven and analytical approach to visually represent a culturally significant moment in time.

Cosmin Haiaș, At the end, all you’ve got is silence, in group exhibition: Among the Thorn of the desert. Our eyes full of dust, 12-14 Contemporary Wienna, 2022

Cosmin HAIAȘ graduated from the Timișoara Polytechnic University in 1993 and the Department of Painting of the West University of Timișoara’s Faculty of Arts and Design in 2006. He has presented solo exhibitions in Romania and abroad: Matrix of Violence and the Quiet Loneliness of Quantum Calculus (München, Germany, 2019), Tools for a Better World (Aiurart Gallery, Bucharest, Romania, 2016), NNN No News Newsletter (Make a Point Gallery, Bucharest, Romania, 2013), State of Anxiety (Calina Gallery, Timișoara, Romania, 2010). His works have also featured in group exhibition: I See Nothing (MV Sci-art Center, Timișoara, Romania, 2022), Oasis.Green Identity (Young Naturalists Resort, Timișoara, Romania, 2021), Romanian Independent Artists (59 Rivoli, Paris, France, 2019), Fusion Exhibition (Rezidența BRD Scena 9, Bucharest, Romania, 2019), Memory as Vision (Brush Factory Spaces, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 2018), Unfinished Festival (National Museum of Art, Bucharest, Romania, 2018), Universallowed (Former Battery Factory, Timișoara, Romania, 2017), Viena Design Week (2016), X Platform#3 (WASP Working Art Space and Production, Bucharest, Romania, 2016), Hidden Agenda (Rezidența Scena 9, Bucharest, Romania, 2016), Dada Games (Romanian Cultural Institute in Berlin, Germany, 2016), Men against Life (Arts in Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania, 2015), Becoming Connected / Avanpost Group (The Memorial of the Revolution Museum, Timișoara, Romania, 2015), Beyond the Silence / Avanpost Group (The Theresia Bastion, Timișoara, 2015), People in Translation (The Synagogue, Timișoara, Romania, 2010).

Kristie Kisch, Crab, 2023 / multimedia installation that blurs the lines between realities, technologies, and species. An immersive collage jungle projection where a friendly interactive crab follows those passing by, constantly searching for their proverbial inner ocean. Through this captivating encounter, Crab serves as a poignant reminder of our shared humanity and intricate connection with the broader non-human realm.

Kristie KISH is an emmy-nominated multimedia artist born and raised in New York. Her creative practice explores the intersection of technology and the natural world, using footage, printed matter, natural objects, and data as tools to uncover new perspectives on the environment and our relationship with it. Although her work fuses together a variety of materials and techniques into an unusual or nonsensical clusterfuck hybrid thing, it somehow feels familiar and enchanting. Before working digitally, she spent her time in the printmaking studio where she developed her love for multilayered visual language. Her work was shown in group exhibitions and published in literary arts journals. She received a BA in Studio Art with a focus on printmaking from CUNY Hunter College in 2016 and an MFA in Computer Arts specializing in motion graphics and experimental art from School of Visual Arts (SVA) in 2023. As a freelance motion designer, she designs and animates work ranging from corporate commercials to silly and bizarre cartoons. She prefers the latter. Her work was broadcasted on Nat Geo Wild, SYFY, and Nickelodeon. In her free time, Kristie is hangin' with her giant bunny rabbit and plants.

Andreea Medar, Solarium. The forever garden, in solo exhibition: Solarium. The forever garden, Meta Spatiu, 2022 / transparent plastic stitch, black UV light, plastic tubes, plexiglass, fluorescent pigment, water, silicone, resin, projection

Andreea MEDAR holds a B.A., M.A. and a Ph.D. from the West University of Timișoara’s Faculty of Arts and Design. Although educated as a painter, she is currently interested in objects and environments, sculpture, media installations, and video. Her images rewrite her own personal imagery in a surprising and paradoxical own visual idiom, which associates contrasting elements and constructs encrypted images not entirely open to the viewer. Andreea’s solo exhibitions reflect her aesthetic credo: Solarium. The forever garden (Meta Spațiu, Timișoara, Romania, 2022/ curator Mălina Ionescu), Racoți (B5 Studio, Târgu Mureș, Romania, 2019), Zestre (Lapsus Art Space, Timișoara, Romania, 2018), Traces of the Present (“Constantin Brâncuși” Gallery, Târgu Jiu, Romania, 2018); she has also had exhibitions abroad, such as the solo show 70 Packs (together with Mălina Ionescu, Romanian Cultural Institute, Venice, Italy, 2022). Project selection: 2023 PULS 22 (The National Contemporary Art Museum of Romania/ MNAC, Bucharest, Romania, 2022), SNAC (MNAC Bucharest, Romania, 2022/ curator Mălina Ionescu), Ecologies of Repair (Gaep Gallery, Bucharest, Romania, 2022/ curator Adelina Luft), Among the thorns of the desert. Our eyes full of dust (Vienna, Austria, 2022/ curator Mirela Stoeac Vladuți), I feel something, don't know what (Art Encounters Timisoara Foundation and Zachenta Project Room, Poland, 2021/ curators Diana Marincu, Magdalena Kardasz), The Apocalypse of the white elephant (Garnizoană Timișoara, Romania, 2021/ curators Mirela Stoeac Vlăduți, Denise Parizek, Mălina Ionescu), Seeing Time (Kunsthalle Bega, Timisoara, Romania, 2019/ curator Liviana Dan). She received the first prize at the Young Romanian Artists in Contemporary Creation 2021 contest. As her frequent duo exhibition partner, Mălina Ionescu, explains: “Andreea structures her works from the premises of a complete freedom, of both motivation and visual expression… Their clarity, coherence and poignancy derive not from the juxtaposition of contrasts, but from an underlying unity, a very personal, subjective charge which connects with the audience on a very intense, emotional and direct level.“

Jintong YANG, Chrysalis, 2023 / interactive installation combined with 3D fabrication, animation, projection mapping, and craft

Jintong YANG is a multidisciplinary artist based in NYC specializing in motion design and new media art. She explores spiritual connections between humans and nature, body and mind, life and death through moving images and immersive experiences. Having focused on art trading during her undergraduate study, she found herself more of an artist than a dealer. What she has gained has become the source and motivation of her creation after several years of art practicing, traveling and volunteering. Her works combine digital graphics, interaction, technology and sound design. Recently, she just finished her MFA study in the Computer Arts program at School of Visual Arts. She is still forming her art style by experimenting with different techniques and materials, and looking for opportunities to present more of her works.


Maria OROSAN-TELEA, co-curator of LAYERS OF REALITY, has a background in art history and theory at the Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca. She arrived in Timișoara in 2009, to continue her doctoral studies at the Faculty of Arts and Design, with a research on Romanian art in the post-communist period. She has published various studies and articles in specialized journals, collective volumes and exhibition catalogs. She is the author of Pseudosignification and hypersignification in Romanian art after 1990 and Art Guide. Introduction to Romanian contemporary art. As a curator, she has carried out a series of projects in collaboration with the Avantpost group, and in 2018 she founded the curatorial program DRAFT (, in which she highlights artistic projects in the idea stage. In 2019-2021 she was an assistant in the project “Gender Politics and the Art of European Socialist States”, initiated by Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań.




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