There is a high wall blocking my horizon. It looked like a curtain from a distance, but it is a cloth made out of concrete bricks. I find a gap between them. It is only me on this side of the wall. There is no one on the other side of the wall. I can feel being alone. A moderate silence can be disturbing. I hear me breathing. I move closer. My view rises and falls when I look through the gap of the wall. It is my breath, which is perpetually changing my view.
Mare Vint is one of the most prominent Estonian printmakers, internationally known since the early 1970s, when she won at the Biennial of Print in Ljubljana. Lithography is her passion, drawings are her love. In her new dream cityscapes and imagined parks, Vint engages in a dialogue with the ideas of Giorgio de Chirico, Giorgio Morandi, and Arnold Akberg, an Estonian early modernist. The artist believes in a harmonious world. The metaphysical moods and geometric structures in Vint’s work symbolize timelessness and harmony in the aesthetic and philosophical realms.
Harry Liivrand Culture Attaché of the Estonian Embassy in Berlin
Mare Vint — Rational Child of Nature
The art critics of Mare Vint’s generation and young art historians recognize that Vint developed her own style quite early and that she has remained devoted to the aesthetical. By “aesthetical,” they mean something timeless and unchanging. They also emphasize a special quality in her work. The concept of beauty is relative to the times, and certainly there have been changes in Vint’s oeuvre. Her compositions developed toward more abstraction, and certain elements and topics can be discerned that the artist likes to revisit. One of the latter is the park.
I assume that Vint treats the park as a symbolic space denoting the intellectual ordering of elemental nature. Parks and architecture are artificial environments constructed by humans and given certain functions, structure, and meaning. Together they make up a system of enclosed and exposed spaces that occupy a finite area. In this system, the park has a transgressive function in that it confines the artificial space from the nature and at the same time offers a gradual conflation. The visual delimiters of these two worlds are fences, walls, bushes, and trees. The realms are united by openings and gates, the latter symbolizing the boundaries of rationality but also the potential of connecting with the beyond. The transcendental element allows the interpretation of Vint’s parks as sacred spaces.
It is significant that this observation could never be expressed in Soviet times, when all religion was forbidden. Because of this, however, nature acquired a special meaning as the opposite of the rationality of city culture. Vint also conceptualizes the religious in her series “Between Earth and Heaven,” where the horizon has been lowered to a point that makes us focus on the few clouds in the seemingly infinite sky.
Vint was born in Nazi-occupied Estonia during the Second World War, and lived her childhood during the Stalin regime. Her youth, however, was defined by the détente of Khrushchev’s leadership. The erection of the Berlin Wall in 1961 and the events of the Prague Spring in 1968 crushed any illusions of liberty under the Soviet system. This was the beginning of a long period of stagnation under Brezhnev’s rule.
The historical events were an element in the development of Vint as an artist. She herself is of the opinion that changes in the society have influenced her subconscious. So the rationality that is characteristic of her work should be understood as having a special meaning and not regarded as a way of conscious self-censorship. The nature can symbolize the liberty confined by the orderly architectural forms. The feeling of constrain of these forms is alleviated with an aesthetic treatment.
Vint began participating in exhibitions in 1968 as a naivest graphic artist. Her early works depict nature, but her landscapes were not yet static. There is something already going on, however, because while the trees and bushes are bent by strong winds, fruit and birds walking on the grass are rigid and stiff. In the background, we see open waters and skies toward which the occasional feminine figures in her pictures have turned their gaze. Later, architectural figures appear in her elemental nature, and the horizon is hidden by trees, bushes, fences, and walls. The park becomes her favourite subject.
In the 1970s, Vint often used india ink and, later on, also colored pencils. Her style of depiction becomes more static and realistic, and the spaces more enclosed. At the beginning of the 1990s, Vint had fully developed her particular style, and it acquired the status of a classic. Since the opening of the old communist borders, Vint has been able to satisfy her desire to travel. New impressions from nature and architecture were reflected and refined in her work. Vint has a special attraction to Mediterranean nature, architecture, and ruins. One of her favourite cities is Rome. Vint has been actively exhibiting her work in Estonia and abroad to date.