It is a pleasure to organise an exhibition of the Association of Estonian Printmakers at Daugavpils Mark Rothko Art Centre.
I have to admit that the artists taking part in this exhibition are almost the same as those who were active “in the old times”, i.e. before the general crisis in printmaking. But I am not saying that the old times were ideal. I became president of our association seven years ago, when there was a crisis both in the economy and in the medium of printmaking. During the course of these seven years, many things have changed in the art world, including the realm of printmaking. For example, printmaking has gained popularity and escalated to the second place among student candidates of the Art Academies in Riga and Vilnius. This is similar to the situation at our Estonian Art Institute in the Soviet times. In Lithuania, today there are 68 students in the bachelor and 17 in the master’s programme in the Department of Printmaking at the Art Academy of Vilnius. In Estonia, we are not so lucky. In spite of the tradition of the Tallinn Print Triennial, the number of our own printmakers is critically small and newcomers to the field are decreasing. There are virtually no applicants for printmaking at our Art Academy either in the bachelor’s or in the master’s programme.
Nevertheless, I am very happy that many Estonian artists have decided to participate in this show. In years past, this kind of joint exhibition would not have been so popular. It is always easier, and much more interesting, to start with a small group exhibition, a curator’s project or, ideally, with a solo exhibition. It is often more satisfying to describe one’s own personal viewpoint or to “feel the pulse of the society”. Although this is exciting, a large show has a unique and remarkable quality.
The exhibition at the contemporary Mark Rothko Art Centre in Daugavpils, Latvia, is dedicated to the centenary of Estonia’s statehood. With this show, we are testing the actual interest in printmaking of the Estonian art world. Fortunately, there is renewed excitement for printmaking skills in the world at large. A new generation is coming up, discovering and studying different techniques with great interest. New techniques are emerging every day, giving all a chance to find out more about the medium. So let us take hold of and use these techniques!
Meanwhile, the celebration continues.
Association of Estonian Printmakers