Tallinn Art Hall, Tallinn, USSR

The first Tallinn Print Triennial took place in 1968 under the name “Present Day and Graphic Form”. Initially, the event invited only printmakers from the three Baltic countries– Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Because of the political situation in Estonia, the Tallinn Print Triennial, could not invite printmakers from countries outside of the Soviet Baltic states and other states of the Eastern Bloc. Therefore, the triennial developed an inward version of internationalism.

The cultural authorities of the Estonian Socialist Soviet Republic had a strong interest in controlling the rapidly changing cultural scenes in the three Baltic states. Along with the Tallinn Print Triennial, the International Vilnius Painting Triennial was created in 1968, followed by the Riga-based Sculpture Quadrennial which was in operation from 1972 on.

The Tallinn Print Triennial was the most progressive among these, due to the relatively open political system in Estonia, in comparison with the harsh conditions in Latvia and Lithuania. The desire among Estonian printmakers towards self-determination in fact gave a strong impulse to artists from neighboring countries.