WELCOME TO MY EXHIBITION OF MEDITATIVE LIGHT ART!
Reet Varblane, Estonian art critic has said: „In order to understand Aili Vint’s pure art, one has to have time, and a wish to accept, and an appropriate mental state. Light art is meditative in this way. Clement Greenberg, the patron of pure art, should be happy since there is nothing else disturbing the viewing experience“
How did I became fascinated by the glow of white paper?
I had just bought three very expensive sheets of snow white for the Osaka Graphic Art Triennial. In my studio I placed all three rolls beside each other on the table, and I noticed that the glow of white paper spread from one roll to another and the paper was singing in its pure white glory.
And then it came to me: Such purity cannot be messed up with ink! The light of paper must be as such. So it was decided. I will make some cuts to the paper and put it back into the roll. There is no reason why graphic art cannot be three-dimensional!
Maximally Minimal VII 1994 3D graphics, papercut, serigraphy (ws in Osaka Print Triennial)
Where light and shadow meet, a glow is born. The glow of light is a strange , independent force that creates the impression of visible form.
Green ray of Sunshine 1996 3D graphics, serigraphy
The last ray of light that the sun sends out before going down is green. The green sunbeam can be seen only when observing the sunset very closely and the sea has to be calm. It is extremely bright, transparent, almost chiming. This is green that cannot be seen anywhere else in the nature. The glow ghas an ability to mix colours with much more finesse than any artist.
Glow of Light on Paper 1995 Paper sculpture (was in Osaka Sculpture Triennial)
On this sculpture the glimmer of light is so powerful that it makes the form around the white roll of paper echo back from inside and the roll disappears into the light. This glow can even erase the form and create an impression of spacelessness.
The glow of light creates an absolute purity and simplicity – a whole that we all can perceive, either consciously or subconsciously, but often have a problem accepting what we see. We have difficulty in accepting what is simple. Yet the glow of light in nature is a simple process: where light and shadow meet, a glow is born. The glow of light is a strange, independent force that creates the impression of visible form. This glow is capable of destroying form, creating loss of space. Sometimes, the glow of light is even powerful enough to obscure the sea.
Light sculptures are so subtle that they cannot be captured in a photograp One has to experience them in person in order to feel and see the real effects of the glow of light. The Japanese understood the glow and the Osaka Triennial accepted the piece, but Estonian art community was not ready to accept and support the most interesting period in my work – the period of glow. Several art critics shrugged: Aili Vint is playing with paper rolls! Clean light is not for everyone. After being surrounded with such purity it was quite hard for me to return to our world of shallow hypocrisy.
Existence in Timeless Space
“Existence in timeless space” works on the same principles as other light sculptures. There is a large white cube in the middle of the room. The viewer can walk around it. In opposite walls of the cube there are openings. When you peek into the cube, the light glow creates a feeling of supreme emptiness, since all you see is the expanse of white paper. The space becomes an enormous vessel filled with the flow of daylight. The ‘white time’ captured in this space is as taut as a string on a violin. This is where the time stops yet the space seems to be void of time. Timeless.
Story of how the “White Sea” was born
During the period when I was doing light sculptures, my soul longed to paint the sea. Suddenly I found myself folding the sea out of paper. At my next exhibit, I showed this work – folded white paper, framed and similar in size to my other works (110cm x 190cm).
With the “White Sea” it is very important that the viewer can “keep painting it” while moving in front of the picture observing the glow that appears on the white paper from the surroundings and even from the viewer’s clothing. The walls of the room cast a glow on the paper just as the sky casts light onto the surface of the real sea – and this is how an illusion of reality is created and the paper sea comes to life.
I started painting the sea again only recently. I have never painted a sea so bright as in “The Sea Ends Here”!
The Sea Ends Here, 2007, oil on canvas, 150×190, dedicated to Alessandro Baricco
This is art that cannot be created, only discovered. Therefore this very simplistic light art needs to be accompanied by a very hyper-realistic seascape for comparison: “Here ends the Sea” ((dedicated to Alessandro Baricco) 2007-2008 oil on canvas 110x190cm. Both pieces are equal, of the same measurements and similar oak frames.
NB! Model! White Sea, 2012, folded from white paper, oak frame, 110 cm x 190 cm The sea was put in the middle of the exhibition hall.
Here you can see folded sea. Compare the changes in the light and dark tones (as if we started to paint with light). On one side the sky is dark, on the other side it is light. You can look for differences on both folded seas. The light, the shadows and the glow give us the form image of the sea. The memory of our 5 senses bring out a vivid picture of the sea and helps us to create the illusions of our “own sea.”
Story of when the “White Sea” was really born
One morning in my childhood,when I stepped into our back yard, a snow-white sea that smelled of Grandma’s clean sheets was billowing all over the yard. At that time I was certain the White Sea was white. When, as an adult, I said hello to the real White Sea, it was blue instead. And the Black Sea isn’t black and the Red Sea isn’t red, as I had imagined as a child. (From My book: The SEA Book)
It’s amazing how my childhood influences my work to this day. When people ask me how long it took me to complete this or that painting, I’m always tempted to answer: A long, long time – since childhood. Games and pranks played in childhood will stay with us and often help us to adopt a more cheerful and creative attitude toward life. (From my book: The Sea Book)
In Estonian there is a beautiful word kuma (glow) that means reception on ones surroundings and at the same time a desire to give back even more generously. For example the glow of the sun reflected on a child’s face or the glowing reflection of sky on the sea. Light Sculpture of Sunset is a piece that was already conceived in my childhood, although it materialized only in 1996, when the renovation of Tallinn Art Hall was completed but all its rooms were still empty, awaiting exhibitions. It is a 3m X 6m expanse of sky where on light itself mixes the olours of the sunset, and so subtly that no artist could equal it.
Here’s how The Light Sculpture of Sunset was born. It was one of my childhood summers and my parents kept promising to take us to the seaside. I had waited patiently for a long, long time to go there. And then, on a sweltering Sunday morning, we finally took a packed bus to the seaside. It didn’t matter that we had to stand the whole way to Võsu, because my mind was occupied with the anticipation of meeting the Sea again and spending the entire, long day with it!
When the sun began to blush in the evening, I decided I wouldn’t leave until the sun had set in the sea and thus my legs carried me to the other end of the beach to hide. I watched, open-mouthed, as the sun picked colours and started painting on the sea. The impressions were so powerful that time just flew by and we nearly missed the last bus. I was later told to stand in the corner for punishment. Standing there I noticed something curious: the walls suddenly changed colour. Both walls were glowing like the sunset, one less, the other more. To create a real sunset, I tilted my head and then the place where the walls met became the horizon, the darker wall being the sea and the lighter one the sky, and I was in a red dress that caused this glow, as if in a real seaside sunset. A peculiar feeling of happiness overtook me and I even wondered: Why on earth do grownups think that making children stand in the corner is punishment – it’s so interesting here!
/From my book: The Sea Book/