Vitor Pascale, an artist from Brazil spent his residency at TYPA in Tartu the coldest winter months, still he has the warmest memories of that time:
I had the amazing chance to go to Estonia for an art residency during the last winter months. I come from Curitiba, a city in the south of Brazil, and I’ve been following TYPA with great admiration. I had the dream of going to such an incredible place to develop my printmaking project.
I must say after two tough years of pandemic it was not an easy process to really be able to travel all the way from Brazil, but I made it – in the beginning of December 2021 I arrived in Tartu. I was thrilled to be in a different country, with lots of ideas and inspiration. Breathing a new fresh (cold) air, I started sketching from the cosy artist’s apartment. I wasn’t sure if I was ready for the Estonian dark winter, but I knew that it would be one of the best experiences of my life (and it has certainly been proved it was). I love describing the details, so here I go.
I was lucky to experience a snowy winter in Estonia (I’ve heard the years before I went were kind of grey) so I was instantly in love with the mesmerizing landscapes. My project was already in my mind, but it began during the bus journey from Tallinn to Tartu. It was one of the rare sunny winter days when the lights make all the textures sparkle. Right away, from the bus window, I knew I wanted to explore the beautiful cold textures of Estonia. The initial idea for the residency was to continue a series called “Das janelas e ruas” (From windows and streets) which I’ve been working on for the last few years. I also knew I’d like to carve large scale matrices and that was definitely a challenge.
I dedicated my first days to walking around (even with -17ºC outside), to get some inspiration for the prints. I’ve tried sketching while strolling, but I don’t recommend it 🙂
Tartu is a charming, tiny city, so it was not a hard job to find where I would start. But as a printmaker in TYPA I truly felt like a kid in an amusement park. With all the machines and presses and the possibilities crossing my mind. (Again, I was really excited). So I decided to try planning my time there (of almost 3 months). It was not too short, but I’d need to manage it well in order to pull off all my ideas. During the first two months of the residency, I focused on working on my prints and the last month would be dedicated to workshops.
I found the best way to explore these cold textures and lights through large reduction linocuts. So I spent many (maaaany) hours carving in the studio. At first, it was quite challenging not only because of the work of big prints itself but the darkness. At 4-ish in the afternoon, it was already night. My body wouldn’t follow my mind’s energy. Drinking a lot of coffee and chatting at the office really helped though.
Besides carving, printing and being at the museum, I was in Estonia during Christmas!! So I got to experience cool traditional experiences like sauna and ice bathing hosted by the amazing members of TYPA (that’s something I feel I should highlight too) – I was warmly welcomed. Since the application process throughout all my time in Tartu. I’ve met amazing people, made great friends, exchanged ideas, and I’ve learnt a lot. With the support from TYPA, I had the opportunity to run a month of workshops. It was a total of 4 workshops (Rubber stamping , Monoprinting , Experimental Printing and Zine making) and it was absolutely a great time meeting people from different countries who came to experiment with a bit of printing.
In my last week after many days of working and thinking that maybe I wouldn’t achieve everything I had been planning, I’ve managed to come up with a series called “Winter Breaths” of four large scale linocuts, eight smaller linocut prints and eight monotypes and letterpress prints inspired by Estonian poems.
“Winter breaths” is an invitation to walk the silent snowy paths and observe the subtle instants surrounding us. A moment to travel through memories of places in constant changes. It is an invitation to feel the cold textures and the stony rustle of winter days. Where the night expands and the moon holds the grey horizon. It is a journey across the sounds and textures of Estonia. Where light and darkness plays along with the printmaking sounds and processes.
And one more time I was lucky to get an incredible place to have my solo exhibition in Tartu. An “open” glass gallery at Aparaaditehas. It was a huge thing for me and also a huge challenge – TYPA gave me full support and I just couldn’t be happier to finish my residency experience with this show. I’d definitely love to spend more time at TYPA and Tartu and with no doubt I recommend TYPA to all printmakers, bookbinders and print enthusiasts. I believe now it has been proved it was for sure the best residency experience I could have 🙂