History of Our World

The Image as Rememberance | Giovanni Chiaramonte & Andrei Tarkovsky

Posted in Art, Film, Photography, Print by R on January 31, 2010

Civitavecchia, March 19, 1982

Civitavecchia, March 19, 1982

Bagno Vignoni, 1979-1982

Bagno Vignoni, 1979-1982

Bagno Vignoni, 1979-1982

Just outside Citta Ducale, ‘Church in the Water’, November 1982

An instantaneous mirror of memory, every photograph leaves a motionless trace of what has been, a fixed imprint of something that is no longer what it was before,a silent simulacrum of someone who has disappeared forever from our field of vision. And, as a simple act of remembering, the photograph seems to testify only to the disappearance and death of people and of the feelings that bind us to them, of things and of places where they belong.

Seen in this way, the act of remembrance is the recording of information imposed on the mind by exterior reality, according to the linear logic of necessity, the inexorable law of nature, the Euclidean mechanism of cause and effect that structures and governs human history in the shape of tragedy. The artist Tarkovsky says, must be ‘capable of going beyond the limitations of coherent logic, and conveying the deep complexity and truth of the impalpable connections and hidden phenomena of life’,* the deep complex truth of a life in which he was raised as the heir of one of the greatest poets of the generation of Pasternak, Mandekshtam, Akhmatova and Tsvetaeva.

For the poet Arseny Tarkovsky, Andrei’s father, ‘death does not exist/ we are all immortal/ and everything is immortal. At Seventeen/ one should not fear death, nor at seventy./ Being and light alone have reality, darkness and death have no existence,/ We are all already on the shore of the sea/ and are among those who drag the nets/ while immortality gleams beside them./ Live in the house and it will not fall down./ I shall call forth any century at all,/ to enter into it and build my house./ This is how your children and wives/ will sit with me at the table,/ One sole table for ancestor and descendant./ The future is happening now.’*

Within this genealogy, Andrei Tarkovsky… believes that ‘an artistic image is one that ensures its own development. This image is a grain, a self-evolving retroactive organism. It is a symbol of actual life, as opposed to life itself. Life contains death. An image of life, by contrast, excludes it, or else sees in it a unique potential of the affirmation of life. Whatever it expresses – even destruction and ruin – the artistic image is by definition an embodiment of hope, it is inspired by faith. Artistic creation is by definition a denial of death. Therefore it is optimistic, even if in an ultimate sense the artist is tragic.’*

* Andrei Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time, translated by Kitty Hunter-Blair, London, 1986

* Arseny Tarkovsky, ‘Life Life’, in La steppa [The Steppe], Pistoia, 1998

* Andrei Tarkovsky, Time Within Time: The Diaries 1970-1986, translated by Kitty Hunter-Blair, London, 1994



Instant Light: Tarkovsky Polaroids

Edited by Giovanni Chiaramonte & Andrei Tarkovsky

Introduction by Tonino Guerra

Thames & Hudson



Giovanni Chiaramonte

Andrei Tarkovsky



One Response

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  1. Matt said, on June 7, 2010 at 16:43

    Wonderful images and thoughtful commentary. Really glad I stumbled upon your site. Cheers.

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