ANDREY TARKOVSKY / SCULPTING IN TIME

STAVROGIN/ IN THE APOCALYPSE THE ANGEL SWEARS THAT THERE WILL BE NO MORE TIME
KIRILOV/ I KNOW. ITS QUITE TRUE, ITS SAID VERY CLEARLY & EXACTLY. WHEN THE WHOLE OF MAN HAS ACHIEVED HAPPINESS, THERE WONT BE ANY TIME BECAUSE IT WONT BE NEEDED. ITS PERFECTLY TRUE
STAVROGIN/ WHERE WILL THEY PUT IT THEN?
KIRILOV/ THEY WONT PUT IT ANYWHERE. TIME ISNT A THING, ITS AN IDEA. ITLL DIE OUT IN THE MIND
THE POSSESSED / FYODOR DOSTOYEVSKY




WORKS OF ART, UNLIKE THOSE OF SCIENCE, HAVE NO PRACTICAL GOALS IN ANY MATERIAL SENSE. ART IS META-LANGUAGE, WITH THE HELP OF WHICH PEOPLE TRY TO COMMUNICATE WITH ONE ANOTHER; TO IMPART THE INFORMATION ABOUT THEMSELVES & ASSIMILATE THE EXPERIENCE OF OTHERS. AGAIN, THIS HAS TO DO NOT WITH PRACTICAL ADVANTAGE BUT WITH REALIZING THE IDEA OF LOVE, THE MEANING OF WHICH IS IN SACRIFICE: THE VERY ANTITHESIS OF PRAGMATISM. I SIMPLY CANNOT BELIEVE THAT AN ARTIST CAN EVER WORK FOR THE SAKE OF ‘SELF-EXPRESSION’. SELF-EXPRESSION IS MEANINGLESS UNLESS IT MEETS WITH A RESPONSE. FOR THE SAKE OF CREATING A SPIRITUAL BOND WITH THE OTHERS IT CAN ONLY BE AN AGONIZING PROCESS, ONE THAT INVOLVES NO PRACTICAL GAIN: ULTIMATELY, IT IS AN ACT OF SACRIFICE. BUT SURELY IT CANNOT BE WORTH THE EFFORT MERELY FOR THE SAKE OF HEARING ONE’S OWN ECHO

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ART DOES NOT THINK LOGICALLY, OR FORMULATE A LOGIC BEHAVIOR; IT EXPRESSES ITS OWN POSTULATE OF FAITH. IF IN SCIENCE IT IS POSSIBLE TO SUBSTANTIATE THE TRUTH OF ONES CASE & PROVE IT LOGICALLY TO ONES OPPONENTS, IN ART IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO CONVINCE ANYONE THAT YOU ARE RIGHT IF THE CREATED IMAGES HAVE LEFT HIM COLD, IF THEY HAVE FAILED TO WIN HIM WITH A NEWLY DISCOVERED TRUTH ABOUT THE WORLD & ABOUT MAN, IF IN FACT, FACE TO FACE WITH THE WORK, HE WAS SIMPLY BORED

GOGOL WROTE TO ZHUKOVSKY IN JANUARY 1848.. ‘IT IS NOT MY JOB TO PREACH A SERMON. ART IS ANYHOW A HOMILY. MY JOB IS TO SPEAK IN LIVING IMAGES, NOT IN ARGUMENTS. I MUST EXHIBIT LIFE FULL-FACE, NOT DISCUSS LIFE’

OTHERWISE THE ARTIST IS IMPOSING HIS THOUGHTS ON HIS AUDIENCE. & HAS ANYONE SAID THAT HE IS CLEVERER THAN THE PEOPLE IN THE AUDITORIUM OR THE READER WITH A BOOK IN HIS HANDS? IT IS SIMPLY THAT HE THINKS IN IMAGES, WITH WHICH, UNLIKE THE AUDIENCE, HE CAN EXPRESS HIS VISION OF THE WORLD. IT IS OBVIOUS THAT ART CANNOT TEACH ANYONE ANYTHING, SINCE IN 4000 YEARS HUMANITY HAS LEARNED NOTHING AT ALL

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THE WHOLE CONCEPT OF AVANT-GARDE IN ART IS MEANINGLESS. I CAN SEE WHAT IT MEANS AS APPLIED TO SPORT, FOR INSTANCE. BUT TO APPLY IT TO ART WOULD BE TO ACCEPT THE IDEA OF PROGRESS IN ART; & THOUGH PROGRESS HAS AN OBVIOUS PLACE IN TECHNOLOGY – MORE PERFECT MACHINES, CAPABLE OF CARRYING OUT THEIR FUNCTIONS BETTER & MORE ACCURATELY – HOW CAN ANYONE BE MORE ADVANCED IN ART?

PEOPLE TEND TO TALK ABOUT EXPERIMENT & SEARCH ABOVE ALL IN RELATION TO THE AVANT-GARDE. BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN? HOW CAN YOU EXPERIMENT IN ART? HAVE A GO & SEE HOW IT TURNS OUT? BUT IF IT HASNT WORKED THEN THERES NOTHING TO SEE EXCEPT THE PRIVATE PROBLEM OF THE PERSON WHO HAS FAILED. FOR THE WORK OF ART CARRIES WITHIN IT AN INTEGRAL AESTHETIC & PHILOSOPHICAL UNITY; IT IS AN ORGANISM, LIVING & DEVELOPING ACCORDING TO ITS OWN LAWS. CAN ONE TALK OF EXPERIMENT IN RELATION TO THE BIRTH OF A CHILD? IT IS SENSELESS & IMMORAL

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& EVEN THOUGH I THINK MEREZHKOVSKY’S CRITICISM IS BASED ON PERFECTLY SOUND REASONING, IT DOESNT STOP ME FROM LOVING ‘WAR & PEACE’, EVEN, IF YOU LIKE, FOR THOSE PASSAGES THAT ARE THE ‘MISTAKE’. FOR THE GENIUS IS REVEALED NOT IN THE ABSOLUTE PERFECTION OF A WORK BUT IN ABSOLUTE FIDELITY TO HIMSELF, IN COMMITMENT TO HIS OWN PASSION. THE PASSIONATE ASPIRATION OF THE ARTIST TO THE TRUTH, TO KNOWING THE WORLD & HIMSELF IN THE WORLD, ENDOWS WITH SPECIAL MEANING EVEN THE SOMEWHAT OBSCURE, OR, AS THEY CALLED, ‘LESS SUCCESSFUL’ PASSAGES IN HIS WORKS ONE MIGHT EVEN GO FURTHER; I DONT KNOW A SINGLE MASTERPIECE THAT DOESNT HAVE ITS WEAKNESSES OR IS COMPLETELY FREE OF IMPERFECTIONS. FOR THE INDIVIDUAL BIAS THAT MAKES THE GENIUS, & THE SINGLENESS OF PURPOSE WHICH SUSTAINS HIS WORK, ARE THE SOURCE NOT ONLY OF THE GREATNESS OF THE MASTERPIECE BUT ALSO OF ITS LAPSES. AGAIN, CAN LAPSES BE THE RIGHT NAME FOR SOMETHING THAT IS ORGANICALLY PART OF AN INTEGRAL WORLD OUTLOOK? THE GENIUS IS NOT FREE. AS THOMAS MANN WROTE: ‘ONLY INDIFFERENCE IS FREE. WHAT IS DISTINCTIVE IS NEVER FREE, IT IS STAMPED WITH ITS OWN SEAL, CONDITIONED & CHAINED

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EDITING BRINGS TOGETHER THE SHOTS THAT ARE ALREADY FILLED WITH TIME. ALTHOUGH THE ASSEMBLY OF THE SHOTS IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE STRUCTURE OF A FILM, IT DOES NOT, AS IS GENERALLY ASSUMED, CREATE ITS RHYTHM. THE DISTINCTIVE TIME RUNNING THROUGH THE SHOTS MAKES THE RHYTHM OF THE PICTURE; & RHYTHM IS DETERMINED NOT BY THE LENGTH OF THE EDITED PIECES, BUT BY THE PRESSURE OF THE TIME THAT RUNS THROUGH THEM. EDITING CANNOT DETERMINE RHYTHM (IN THIS RESPECT IT CAN ONLY BE FEATURE OF STYLE); INDEED, TIME COURSES THROUGH THE PICTURE DESPITE EDITING, RATHER THAN BECAUSE OF IT. THE COURSE OF TIME, RECORDED IN THE FRAME, IS WHAT THE DIRECTOR HAS TO CATCH IN THE PIECES LAID OUT ON THE EDITING TABLE

TIME, IMPRINTED IN THE FRAME, DICTATES THE PARTICULAR EDITING PRINCIPLE; & THE PIECES THAT ‘WONT EDIT’ – THAT CANT BE PROPERLY JOINED – ARE THOSE WHICH RECORD A RADICALLY DIFFERENT KIND OF TIME. ONE CANNOT, FOR INSTANCE, PUT ACTUAL TIME TOGETHER WITH CONCEPTUAL TIME, ANY MORE THAN ONE CAN JOIN WATER PIPES OF DIFFERENT DIAMETER



FROM SCULPTING IN TIME BY ANDREY TARKOVSKY
EXTRACTS SELECTED BY MONIKA BIELSKYTE