... And the anthropologist Cătălin D. Constantin had the idea of taking pictures of the European squares from above, blending imagination with today’s technology. In order to get the overall view he desired and to capture images from a perspective hardly accessible to the human eye, he used a professional drone, being probably the first one to achieve an overarching project with more than one hundred squares in Europe photographed by this device. After efforts of almost ten years, the results are an exhibition called European Squares and Their Stories and a book art object, Cities in Summary (Peter Pan Art Publishing House, 2018), with photographs and stories from different European cities. An exhibition bringing together aerial images from such a large number of squares in different European historical cities is an unprecedented attempt.
Although there are numerous studies, documentaries, and exhibitions about the destiny of the individual squares, only a few attempts have tried to offer a broad, continental perspective.
Cătălin D. Constantin finds the common thread that links the agora of Greek antiquity with today’s European squares. Such a historical and cultural continuity exists only in Europe. Famous squares in well known capitals, at the geographical edges of Europe, such as Lisbon and Istanbul, are exhibited along with unknown but no less interesting squares, such as the Vlach settlements in the Pindus Mountains, with their eternal, mythical plane tree in the middle, as old as the settlement itself, proof of the crossing over from nature to culture, from nature to architecture.
The structure of cities presents a fundamental tension between the space of the square and the rest of their space, visible only from above. Open space versus closed space. A space of motion versus a stationary space. The exhibition has a double target, architectural and also anthropological as the square is perceived as alive, a space that both gathers the community and summarizes the history of the cities.
Georgia will be the eighth country where the exhibition is traveling. On 28th May, at 5:30 pm, the exhibition will be opened at the National Museum in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi. Almost everywhere, the exhibition is accompanied by workshops, conferences, master classes. Cătălin D. Constantin, the prodean of the Faculty of Letters from Bucharest University, will hold a lecture at Suhumi State University, intitled The Square, The Symbolic Place of The Cities, on 28th May, at 14:00 pm.
Cătălin D. Constantin is a book publisher. He teaches ethnology and anthropology at the Faculty of Letters, the University of Bucharest. He has coordinated a number of literature collections and has edited many photography books dedicated to the Romanian cultural heritage. His first PhD thesis, received from the Faculty of Letters and published in 2013, was focussed on everyday life in Romanian cities at the beginning of the 20th century, starting from unpublished journals belonging to anonymous figures of the age, which the author collected. Cătălin D. Constantin received his second PhD in 2014 at the “Ion Mincu” University of Architecture and Urbanism, a cultural and anthropological reading of public squares of European cities. He has organised several photography exhibitions, both in Romania and abroad.
The itinerary of the exhibition is co-financed by the Architects’ Order in Romania and supported by the Entheos Cultural Association. The Georgian edition is organized in cooperation with the Tbilisi National Museum and the Romanian Embassy in Georgia.