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
In the morning of 11th of March 2019 I reinstalled the “8th International Artist’s Book Triennial Vilnius 2018” in Museo Leone. It was a little sad, so nice space… In one small coffee shop we drank espresso with my friend Roberto, and I started my journey to Venice.
From Vercelli, if the weather is good, you can see the Monte Rosa – the second highest mountain in the Alps and western Europe (elevation 4,634 m), after Mont Blanc.
Now I planned to go to Venice from Vercelli without highways by the local roads. I wanted to visit the Cathedral of Pavia (Duomo di Pavia), and to stop for the night in Pilgrim house (Casa del Pellegrino) in Padua. On the road from Vercelli started the earth storm.
The road was terrible, with many cars, moving in little speed, and roads rings – something new in Italy. Maybe it comes from Belgium… Here you have to be very careful and concentrated when you are driving. Especially if you are driving at a speed higher than the permitted speed…
The Cathedral of Pavia was begun in 1488, under architect Cristoforo Rocchi. Leonardo da Vinci is also known to have contributed to the project. But I could say that in almost each village or small town in Italy has beautiful churches, and sometimes they are older and more beautiful than “famous” cathedrals.
From Pavia I went to Padua, again by local road.
In Padua I arrived in the later evening, and I was the latest guest in the Pilgrim house. But the hotel location was amazing, it was in front of the Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua.
In the room, I found interesting magazine with a “beautiful” cover. So, I decided to make a “selfie” with this two guys and my dinner.
In the morning I visited the Basilica of Saint Anthony. This famous Saint was a Portuguese Catholic priest and friar of the Franciscan Order. Saint Anthony was born in 1195 in Lisbon, Portugal, and died in Padua in 1231.
The exterior style of the Basilica of Saint Anthony is a mixing of mainly Romanesque and Byzantine elements, with some Gothic features. The Basilica looks great and saint, where each hour celebrate the Holly Mass. In the left side in the Basilica are the relics and tomb of St. Anthony – the aim of pilgrims from all over the world.
Near the Basilica of Saint Anthony stands a sculpture of Gattamelata (1445–50) made by famous Italia artist Donatello (1386–1466).
In the monastery courtyard I “found” the old doors with the inscription above “Biblioteca Antoniana”. The Antonian Library of Padua was born in the first half of the thirteenth century. The Antonian Library currently holds 828 manuscripts, of which about 600 are medieval works (including 41 great choral books, with a series of illuminated antiphonaries and graduals of 1340-1360), 260 incunabula, 3200 editions of the sixteenth century.
From Padua I drove to Piazzale Roma in Venice, where are parking garages – this is the last point you can reach with a car in Venice.
I left my car, and with big and heavy suitcase I went to the “Gallery SG” in the “Scuola Internazionale di Grafica”. The weather was very clean, and from one of the bridges I have seen the mountains. Fantastic. It was first time when in Venice I have seen Alps and snow. If we measure it would be about 165 km straight from Venezia to the mountains, by road about 300 km…
Here I met the director and owner of the “Scuola Internazionale di Grafica” (International School of Graphic Art), Mrs. Matilde Dolcetti. The “Gallery SG” is the part of the “Scuola” with very intensive art activity. An exhibition “8th International Artist’s Book Triennial Vilnius 2018” is currently in the “Gallery SG”.
Here, in the “Scuola di Grafica” I met my old friend from Sweden – Katriona Persson. She many times participated in the “Artist’s Book Triennial Vilnius” and now arrived for the opening of the Artist’s Book Triennial in Venezia.
In Venice I spent only two hours and I had to move to my hotel in the Alps. Before moving I ate Venetian ice cream with Italian espresso… Yes, the real espresso is only in Italia! I did 2551 km till Venice only for bringing one suitcase of artist’s books for the exhibition in the Gallery SG. I never have been so short time in Venezia. In reality I was very disappointed…
And again the road.
But when you cross the highway no. A4 and you start to drive on local roads to the north of Italy, everything changing. You start to breathe freely, you see the beautiful Alps, clean and nice small villages. Here the Time is more slow…
With darkness I reached the Italian village Timau. The hotel was in front of the old church. I was only one guest in this small hotel…
At night I walking in the village and found 3 churches, one was extremely big. I started to think, it is too many churches for one small, very small village… The reason of this three churches, and many crosses on the houses, and small chapels – the Wars. Here I found the Military Museum “Museo La Zona Carnia nella Grande Guerra 1915-1918”. The village remembering the horror and hardships these soldiers endured during the first and the second wars. In the past this village belongs to Austria.
During my short stay for the night in this village, I came back to memories about a novels of American great humanist and write (is he an American writer?) Ernest Hemingway… Did it happened here? No. I know, not here. But near here. In the novel the Hemingway wrote about the battles near Gorizia, the retreat of the army near Udine. But for me was the feeling like I come to the place where my favourite Write was fighting and creating his great novels. Silence.
The beautiful serpentine road from the village Timau took me to the “Passo Monte Croce Carnico” (elevation of 1.357m) . It is the border between Italy and Austria. On the pass was the “Open-air museum of mountain warfare 1915-18”.
On the serpentine road down was the “heldenfriedhof” heroes’ cemetery. Strange, very strange feeling… Emptiness, no cars, no people, only cut trees around, and crosses. And silence again.
When I drove off the mountains, the snow began.
I turn 200 km out of main road to go to Admont Monastery, where is world largest monastery library, and one of the most beautiful library in the world. Here I have been in 2014 for visiting artist’s book exhibition: “Künstlerbücher – Artists’ Books. International Works from 1960 to Today”.
But this time my journey was unsuccessful – the museum was closed for the winter, my friends didn’t got the message from me, and I didn’t meet them… So I eat my lunch again near my car – I had no time to go to café or restaurant, I had to drive to Salzburg till the night. It was a little cold outside…
When I drove, it started raining and snowing with rare snowflakes. The sky was blending and it was beautiful to drive.
In the later evening I come in Salzburg. Here, in Salzburg, my friend Martin invited me to stay and a little to take a rest after travel, in Artists House (Künstlerhaus). This evening was first time during my 7 days travel, when I ate the dinner. I was eating warm food with Martin’s beautiful family in his nice house… That was great.
It was raining. My body inside was still trembling after long driving.
Continue in the next article. Almost all photos were taken while driving through the windscreen.
Driver & Curator of the Artist’s Book Triennial
© Photos: Kestutis Vasiliunas
© Artist’s Book Creators 2019