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

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Instant Light: Tarkovsky Polaroids

Edited by Giovanni Chiaramonte & Andrei Tarkovsky

Introduction by Tonino Guerra

Thames & Hudson

2004

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Giovanni Chiaramonte

Andrei Tarkovsky

R

The Image as Rememberance | Giovanni Chiaramonte & Andrei Tarkovsky

Posted in Art, Film, Photography, Print by R on October 28, 2009

Myasnoye, 1980_I

Myasnoye, 1980

Myasnoye, 1980_II

Myasnoye, 1980

Myasnoye, September 1980

Myasnoye, September 1980

Myasnoye, September 26, 1981_II

Myasnoye, September 26, 1981

Myasnoye, September 26, 1981_IV

Myasnoye, September 26, 1981

Myasnoye, September 26, 1981_I

Myasnoye, September 26, 1981

Myasnoye, September 26, 1981_III

Myasnoye, September 26, 1981

Myasnoye, October 2, 1981

Myasnoye, October 2, 1981

Seated on the railing of a balcony  against a backdrop of pale birch trees, a handsome woman, her lips closed, gives a hint of a smile. A young solider, his machine gun slung over his shoulder, stares ahead with an intense melancholy, his face stiffening under his bearskin cap, decorated with the five-pointed star of the Red Army. An old house, it’s logs worn and split by the passage of time, stands alone, immersed in the light, along the line of shadow at the edge of a wood.

These are Andrei Tarkovsky’s most beloved black and white images, the ones crucial to his destiny: his mother Maria Ivanovna, his father, Arseny, his childhood home at Ignatievo. Tarkovsky selected, reproduced, and pasted these and other photographs from his family album into a black diary he carried with him. A visual sequence of his life, a presence from the past that would accompany the director in his preparation and making of the film The Mirror and would stay with him, like a portable flashback that could be replayed again and again in moments of home-sickness throughout his short life, right up to his exile in Italy and his death in Paris on December 29, 1986.

Acceptance of the history of the people and the family of his birth, acknowledgment of the cultural tradition in which he was raised, a profound love of the desire for freedom and the creativity of mankind, made in the image and semblance of God: these are the foundations of Tarkovsky’s art. ‘In all my films,’ he wrote, ‘it seemed to me important to try to establish the links which connect people… those links which connect me with humanity, and all of us with everything that surrounds us. I need to have a sense that I myself am in this world as a successor, that there is nothing accidental about my being here. …I always felt it important to establish that I myself belong to a particular tradition, culture, circle of people or ideas.’*

The vitality of his sense of belonging also comes from accepting, acknowledging and loving the little images of his own genealogy, these humble traces of daily life observed through memory, viewed by remembering. Just as the dream sequence that runs through Ivan’s Childhood, awakens the little orphan to the sacrificial fulfillment of his destiny, so too does The Mirror reflect the decisive moments of the story by literally reconstructing those black and white photographs on the set as backgrounds for some of the scenes.

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

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Instant Light: Tarkovsky Polaroids

Edited by Giovanni Chiaramonte & Andrei Tarkovsky

Introduction by Tonino Guerra

Thames & Hudson

2004

___

Giovanni Chiaramonte

Andrei Tarkovsky

R

Instant Light, Andrei Tarkovsky

Posted in Art, Film, Print by R on September 2, 2009

Bagno Vignoni, 1979 - 1982, Andrei Tarkovsky

For many millenia,

man has been striving after happiness;

but he is not happy, Why not?

Because he cannot achive it,

becuase he does not know the way –

both these reasons.

Above all, however,

because in our earthly lives

there must not be ultimate happiness,

but only the aspiration towards it,

in the future;

there has to be suffering,

becuase it’s through suffering,

in the struggle between good and evil,

that the spirit is forged.

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Andrei Tarkovsky

Instant Light, Tarkovsky Polaroids

Thames & Hudson

R

Andrei Tarkovsky, Nostalghia, 1983

Posted in Film by R on June 9, 2009
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