8th International Artist’s Book Triennial Vilnius 2018
Theme: Memento Mori
Time: 23 February – 10 March 2019
Location: “Museo Leone” (Museum Leone), Vercelli, Italy
Journey No. 100
Journey time: 7-17 March, 2019
4623 km with the car through Poland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Czech Republic and again Poland, and back to Lithuania
On 10th of March the “8th International Artist’s Book Triennial Vilnius 2018” in Vercelli was ended. It was beautiful artist’s book exhibition in Museo Leone with many visitors and artist’s book lovers. I have to say that the Artist’s Book Triennial in Museo Leone was looking fantastic – the exhibition hall is small, but so warm with wall painting and wooden ceilings, and the artist’s books has some special connection with this beautiful space. The artist’s books from the “8th International Artist’s Book Triennial Vilnius 2018” were very professional and that mentioned the President of the Museo Leone Prof. Gianni Mentigazzi and Dr. Luca Brusotto, and the mayor of the city of Vercelli Mrs. Maura Forte.
But as the 8th Artist’s Book Triennial Vilnius was ended in Vercelli, and after few days had to be opened in Venice, in the Gallery SG, I had to come to Vercelli, to reinstall the exhibition in Museo Leone, and to drive part of it to Venice, and part of the Triennial to take back to Lithuania.
So, I had to plane the rout of my travel, and to drive to Vercelli from Vilnius with the personal car. And as it is my 100th travel in abroad during Lithuanian Independence, I wanted to make it more impressive and somehow to make it more nice… 100 journeys – not so little, especial when almost all my journeys were for participation in the exhibitions, symposiums, art workshops, for giving the lectures and art workshops, for visiting museums and galleries. And almost all my journeys I have made with my car. Through the 28 years I spent 1290 days in abroad. During the travels I slept in the car infront of the steering wheel, in the tent on in the fields, in terrible cheap hotels on the road and, sometimes in very good hotels in Portugal, China or Korea; I was driving at nights and at days, in winter time and in summer… I have made more than 200.000 km in abroad with my cars, visited more than 200 art museums in all Europe, Japan, Korea, China and USA… I had many “adventures” on the road with criminal persons, police and custom offices, sometimes I was driving and sleeping, sometime I had hallucinations, as the road was too long and I was driving 28 hours at once, and I was trying just to go with the car between the lights… in big speed. But, the God was with me, and He saved me from all dangerous situations.
My first journey abroad was in 1991 to Norway, to Bergen, for participation in Lithuanian art exhibition dedicated for the “Day of Restoration of the State of Lithuania” (February 16th, 1918). It was very strange journey, as The Act of Re-establishment of the State of Lithuania was signed on 11 March 1990, and we still, I am sorry to say that, were not very much free from Soviet Union… So for flying to abroad we needed “foreign passports” from Russia… And the fly was not straight Vilnius – Bergen, or Vilnius – Oslo, but Vilnius – Moscow – Oslo… and back the same direction through Russia.
The 100th my travel, although it is the “business” journey I wanted to make beautiful and interesting, and a little dangerous, like always. So, I planned my journey to Vercelli not only through the highways, but also through the serpentine roads in Austria and Switzerland. I found few “most dangerous” roads which are opened in this winter-spring time, as some roads in Alps are still closed. I rented in Vilnius the new Toyota Corolla 2019 Hybrid, as my Toyotas were too old for such long road.
From Vilnius through Poland I came to Germany to small town Pegnitz.
From Pregniz I took the road through Nürnberg (Nuremberg), Augsburg and Schwangau to Austria, the roads b2 and b17 which are more empty. For many people Nuremberg is tow of “Nuremberg trials”, for others – the legendary Nürburgring is one of the longest, most tradition-steeped, challenging and busiest race tracks in the world. And for artists – is town, where was born and was living famous artist Albrecht Dürer… .
As the second highest pass in Europe – “Stelvio Pass” (“Passo dello Stelvio”) was closed in winter time, (“Stelvio Pass” I did in 2015 with the artist’s books when I went from Vercelli), I took the road very near this pass, in the Switzerland. I come to Lago di Resia (Reschensee) where 4 years ago I have seen the bell tower in the lake. Now it was surrounded by the ice… “Reschen Pass” (“Passo di Resia”) in not very high, only – 1504 m.
After the “Reschen Pass” I stopped for the night in the beautiful old town in Switzerland in Müstair. “Müstair is a village in the Val Müstair municipality in the district of Inn in the Swiss canton of Graubünden. Most of the population what is very nice speaks Rhaeto-Romance.
Here I “found” the Benedictine Abbey of Saint John a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The abbey was established ca. 780 by a bishop of Chur, perhaps under orders from Charlemagne (Charles the Great. 2 April 742 – 28 January 814). The church was painted by frescos in the early 9th century. Later, in the 11th and 12th centuries, the abbey experienced a second expansion and new paintings were added or painted over the old frescoes. These paintings were only rediscovered in the 20th century. As it is possible to see from the Pictures of St Johns Fresco’s, painting was also a large part of the Carolingian Renaissance”. Wonderful, wonderful church!
From Müstair the road goes through the Parco Nazionale dello Stelvio and Parc Naziunal Svizzer. Beautiful scenic road. Here I had to drive through the “Pass dal Fuorn”. Rätoromanisch “Pass dal Fuorn”, Fuorn Pass or Ofen Pass is a high alpine mountain pass in the canton of Graubünden in Switzerland. Elevation: 2,149 m. The beautiful road with snow goes to St. Moritz.
The next pass on the road was the Maloja Pass. Elevation: 1,815 m. “It’s probable that the Maloja was already used in pre-Roman times; the Romans built a fully fledged road over it which crumbled in tune with the Roman Empire”. – Wrote in the https://www.dangerousroads.org/ In reality I don’t feel the altitude here, as it is like plateau with the frozen lake, and it was sunny. I realizes that I was on the pass only when I started drive very straight down with serpentines.
If I expected that the snow road in mountains will be not only interesting but also dangerous road, I found that I was not right.
In Italy I found the Spring with flowering magnolia. And in Italy started big traffic. From the beautiful Lago di Como I had to drive only 130 km to Vercelli. And it’s takes almost 4 hours… That was really dangerous road, when you have to drive between Italian car drivers and motorcycles bypassing you from all sides…
With the darkness I come to Vercelli.
In the next morning, I packed all beautiful artist’s books again in suitcases for returning back books to Vilnius. One big suitcase I packed for the exhibition of “8th International Artist’s Book Triennial Vilnius 2018” in Venice.
Now I planed to go to Venice from Vercelli without highways. I wanted to visit on the local road Pavia and to stop for the night in Padua. And it was the first time when I didn’t take the highways in Italy. And maybe it was the biggest my mistake and challenge.
Continue in the next article. Almost all photos were taken while driving through the windscreen of my auto.
Driver & Curator of the Artist’s Book Triennial
© Photos: Kestutis Vasiliunas
© Artist’s Book Creators 2019