The Zona Festival, originally held between 1993-2004 in Timișoara, is a highlight in the panorama of performance festivals in Romania, alongside prestigious events such as the Periferic Festival in Iași (later transformed into the Periferic Biennial) and the AnnArt Festival, held near Lake Saint Anne. Initiated and coordinated by curator and art historian Ileana Pintilie, the festival captured the fervour of the post-revolutionary years, but also the disillusionment caused by the transition to a new democracy, in a social and political context marked by conflict and rapid change.

The intensive performance programme, hosted by MX – “Corneliu Mikloși” Museum of Public Transport, aims to bring to the forefront this major cultural event, which brought back the avant-garde spirit to Timi;oara in the 1990s. The revisiting of significant moments in the history of the festival, reinterpreted through the prism of performance, will be complemented by contributions from contemporary artists interested in bodily expression, alongside artists with roots in contemporary dance (such as Manuel Pelmuș). The programme aims to stimulate reflection on the history of performance, taking as its starting point the Zona Festival, a catalyst of artistic practice that marked the Romanian scene in the early 90s.

In addition to these aspects, the programme aims to anchor the event in a planetary perspective of contemporary performance, going beyond the local limits of the Zona Festival and promoting interregional contacts in a Europe in the process of post-Cold War reconnection. We invite artists and performers from diverse cultural backgrounds, with their own approach to the body and artistic expression, to articulate crucial questions for human communities everywhere.

The participation of artists such as SERAFINE1369, ILYICH, Elvisey Pisică, QUARTO (Anna Mesquita & Leandro Zappala) and Manuel Pelmuș in collaboration with Anton Skaaning Thomsen will illustrate various ways in which performance can become a means of resistance, liberation and exploration of imposed social and cultural boundaries. Dan Perjovschi, Lia Perjovschi, Teodor Graur and Ion Grigorescu will reinterpret their own contributions to the Zona Festival, offering contemporary perspectives on artistic performance. The event also includes a comprehensive exhibition of a set of materials - videos, documents, photographs, works - that provide a representation of the Zona Festival archive, highlighting each edition. Thus, the public will have the opportunity to get familiar with artistic contributions by Geta Brătescu, Ștefan Bertalan, Eugenia Pop, Nenad Dancuo, Ütö Gustav and Kónya Réka, among others.

A highlight of the programme is the launch of the Zona Festival publication, which will provide a detailed documentation and in-depth analysis of the festival editions and projects. This launch, coordinated by Ileana Pintilie and published by PUNCH Publishing House, will be marked by a round table with curators and art historians who will highlight the impact of the festival today.

ZONA & represents a unique opportunity to explore and reinterpret a crucial period in Timișoara's cultural history, highlighting the potential of performance as a form of artistic expression and resistance in a world marked by change and conflict.

Timișoara is getting ready to revitalise an exceptional cultural event – Zona Festival!

Timisoara is preparing to revitalize an exceptional cultural event - Zona Festival! The Zona Festival was a peak of artistic performance in Romania and a symbol of the cultural effervescence after the Revolution. Organised by Ileana Pintilie, Zona created a unique space for artists of all generations. Now, we intend to bring back this avant-garde period that defined Timișoara.

The performance programme proposes revisiting key moments in the history of the festival, reinterpreted in a performative key. Contemporary artists will offer unique contributions, bringing new perspectives on artistic performance. Through this initiative, we aim to connect the artistic medium of visual arts with that of contemporary dance, exploring hybrid and experimental areas.

Zona Festival has had a strong impact in a time of transition and political conflict. We aim to reflect on how we perceive cultural, social and economic boundaries in a globalised world that paradoxically remains deeply divided. Performance becomes an instrument of resistance and expression, a means through which the body can challenge societal boundaries.

The event includes performances by artists such as SERAFINE1369, ILYICH, Elvisey Pisică, QUARTO (Anna Mesquita & Leandro Zappala), Manuel Pelmuș in collaboration with Anton Skaaning Thomsen, as well as the participation of Dan Perjovschi, Lia Perjovschi, Teodor Graur and Ion Grigorescu, who will revisit their own past contributions and offer a new perspective on performance.

Corina Oprea & Magda Radu