Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Secrets in Plain Sight -- Chartres Revealed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPqGly7KlQ4&feature=related

I regret I have not kept this blog up for much of the latter half of the year.  To share what happened to me during that time, I am writing a piece on the relation of the Occupy movement to contemporary art, and I hope it inspires everyone to contemplate what has taken place in the USA -- beginning in NYC and involving several of our community from the start -- since the Metamorphosis of Fear project was exhibited in August.  Probably Burning Man 2011 and other arts gatherings worldwide made significant contributions. Then maybe we and others can start another blog for 2012.

The complex multi-valent Chartres cathedral will continue revealing itself in streams esoteric and exoteric as long as it stands and human beings are able to visit it.  Now, the social sculpture concept initiated by Joseph Bueys in late 1960s Europe has manifestations everywhere worldwide practically every day.   

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Laura Summer Reports on Free Columbia Study Sessions


On June 14, in preparation for the August conference a small group of people participated in an afternoon study of “ The Heart-Sun-Space and the Christ-Michael Language of the Visual Arts” by Ursula Gruber. Here Ursula speaks about art’s role in the tending and development of the middle sphere that arises out of the twofold penetration of the spiritual and physical worlds. We discussed our own relationships to this way of thinking about art, how we work with it and whether the article was stating experiences or defining criteria.

As further investigation into the qualities of artistic experiences we decided next to study Joseph Beuy’s conversation with Volker Harlan, “What is Art”. We will all read this and prepare a short section that was significant to us. We will study together again on Monday August 1 at 2pm. This is the day before we will hang the exhibit on the Metamorphosis of Fear. That show will open on Thursday, August 4 at 5pm at the Basilica Industria, 110 Front Street, Hudson NY.

Image Arts ... Conference August 5


Posted on Facebook by NickShiver Pomeroy; re-posted with his permission


Time:  Begins  Friday,  August 5 at 1:00 pm; ends  Monday, August 8 at 1:00 pm

Location:  Basilica Industria, 110 South Front Street, Hudson, NY  12534

In August 2010, in Hudson, NY, a conference took place called “The Search for Humanity in Contemporary Art.”  This conference, which sprouted out of the soil of the art section of the school for spiritual science, consisted in a struggle to bring postmodern art and art theory into a new light by seeing it in relationship to spiritual science, and likewise to see anthroposophy in its relationship to postmodernism. This was attempted in many ways. Of course, only the smallest beginning could be made. A group of around 50 people, mostly artists, gathered together to try this. You can get an impression of the activities, exhibits, research and events of last summer by going to:   http://www.freecolumbia.org/report.php

During August 5, 6 and 7 of 2011 another gathering will take place in Hudson, NY. It has grown out of last summer’s gathering.  Our focus has become more specific: Image Arts from the Perspective of Spiritual Reality. The relationships between painting, photography and cinema, and the greater effect technological reproduction (particularly of artwork) has had on the world and culture, have been central themes for artists over the last decades. Striving to achieve clarity in these relationships out of a spiritual understanding of reality is a task left to those working with spiritual science. 
The conference will include presentations by Nathaniel Williams, Johanna Berger, Faye Shapiro, Simeon Amstutz, Laura Summer and Larry Young. This year the format will be different,  with short presentations and conversation in the morning, artistic workshops in the afternoons and artistic presentation and conversation in the evening.  Cost of the conference will be by suggested donation: $120-200 sliding scale.

A group of artists is also preparing an exhibit to take place parallel to the conference. The theme of the exhibit is The Metamorphosis of Fear. As you will see below, this work can be seen as a preparatory step.

As we continue to look forward, a larger gathering in the near future is coming into sight which will take all this work and tie it together. Rudolf Steiner indicated, in conversations with an artist named Jan Stuten, that a new kind of marionette theater needed to be developed to act against the harmful effects cinema had on the human being. A century has now passed since they worked together on initial plans and sketches for this, but the project never reached maturity. 
This was to be a new art, for the small stage, of moving light. Rudolf Steiner saw that in cinema the highest form that could be achieved would be animation. His idea for a renewal of puppetry would be related to what we know as animation, only guided and performed by human beings. Rudolf Steiner suggested that the first piece he and Stuten could create for this stage, might be called The Metamorphosis of Fear. 
This summer we are creating an initial exhibit on the theme of the metamorphosis of fear and exploring the arts of painting, photography and cinema in a conference. Hopefully during the summer of 2012 or 2013 we can bring all this work together to see if we can take another step.

If you would like to join us this summer, or would like to learn more you may contact :

Nathaniel Williams      nafanyel79@gmail.com   518-672-4090

Laura Summer     laurasummer@taconic.net   518-672-7302


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Two Translations of a Poem by Georg Trakl

Lament -- Georg Trakl, two translations

Sleep and death, the dusky eagles
Around this head swoop all night long;
Eternity’s icy wave
Would swallow the golden image
Of man; against horrible reefs
His purple body is shattered.
And the dark voice laments
Over the sea.
Sister of stormy sadness,
Look a timid dinghy goes down
Under stars,
The silent face of the night.

Fear and Its Overcoming -- Poems assembled by Nathaniel Williams

THE SECOND COMING --  William Butler Yeats

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds. 

    The darkness drops again but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Hyperion's Song of Fate – Friedrich Holderlin

Up there you walk through the light
on delicate grounds, Elysian Spirits!
Shimmering breezes of Gods
touch you as softly
as the hand of the harpist touches her
sacrosanct strings. 

Unencumbered by fate, like a slumbering
newborn, are breathing the heavenly dwellers;
chastely protected
by a bud unassuming
flowers for them
eternal the spirit
and their hallow├ęd eyes
shine in serene
clearness forever. 

But to us it is given
never and nowhere to rest:
we suffering humans —
vanishing, falling
blindly from one
hour to the next —
are thrown like the water
cliff down to cliff,
yearlong down to an unknown abyss. 




Devotional -- Novalis

Who in his chamber sitteth lonely,
And weepeth heavy, bitter tears;
To whom in doleful colours, only
Of want and woe, the world appears;

Who of the Past, gulf-like receding,
Would search with questing eyes the core,
Down into which a sweet woe, pleading,
Wiles him from all sides evermore--

As if a treasure past believing
Lay there below, for him high-piled,
After whose lock, with bosom heaving,
He breathless grasps in longing wild:
He sees the Future, waste and arid,

In hideous length before him stretch;
About he roams, alone and harried,
And seeks himself, poor restless wretch!--

I fall upon his bosom, tearful:
I once, like thee, with woe was wan;
But I grew well, am strong and cheerful,
And know the eternal rest of man.

Thou too must find the one consoler
Who inly loved, endured, and died--
Even for them that wrought his dolour
With thousand-fold rejoicing died.

He died--and yet, fresh each to-morrow,
His love and him thy heart doth hold;
Thou mayst, consoled for every sorrow,
Him in thy arms with ardour fold.

New blood shall from his heart be driven
Through thy dead bones like living wine;
And once thy heart to him is given,
Then is his heart for ever thine.

What thou didst lose, he keeps it for thee;
With him thy lost love thou shalt find;
And what his hand doth once restore thee,
That hand to thee will changeless bind.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Anselm Kiefer: "We must set up the laws and at the same time, oppose them."

From Chapter Seven of John C. Gilmour's Fire on the Earth:  Anselm Kiefer and the Postmodern World
(Philadelphia: Temple U Press, 1990):

Central to [Jean-Francois] Lyotard's position is the following:

A postmodern artist or writer is in the position of a philosopher: the text he writes, the work he produces are not in principle governed by preestablished rules, an they cannot be judged according to a determining judgment, by applying familiar categories to the text or to the work.  Those rules and categories are what the work of art itself is looking for.  The artist and the writer, then, are working without rules in order to formulate the rules of what will h ave been done.  ( citation from p 81 of Lyotard's The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge Manchester University Press, 1984).

Kiefer endorses just such an assessment of the situation of the contemporary artist.  As the result of historical development in the twentieth century (particularly the two world wars), he holds that "the structures are broken.  The class that establishes structures is missing.  And what makes our position so difficult today is that we have to be both:  we must set up the  laws and, at the same time, oppose them." 

quote from: Ein Gespracht:  Joseph Beuys, Jannis Kounellis, Anselm Kiefer, and Enzo Cucci ed. Jacqueline Burickhardt, Surich: Parkett Verlag, 1986.)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Art Section Meeting April 18, 2011 -Report from Nathaniel Williams


From 3-4:30 pm we reviewed and reflected on Steiner’s lecture “The Spiritual Being of Art.”  Here Steiner characterized, in a vividly pictorial narrative, the missions and sufferings of the hierarchical beings in their endeavor to guide humanity in the renewed, individual paths of the arts, including dance, acting, sculpture, architecture, painting, music, and poetry.  

Our discussion brought us to questions about the qualitative nature of true, genuine, healing art.  How does the thought of Walter Benjamin appear in this light; how does the effective aura of healing art relate to his aura of singularity?  What is it in what Steiner refers to as “semblance” that lifts the natural and sensory to a more spiritualized manifestation in art?   

To pursue these queries we decided to take up Ursula Gruber’s article The Heart-Sun-Space and The Christ-Michael Language of the Visual Arts [printed in the 2010 Autumn-Winter issue of the Art Section Newsletter] at our next meeting.  This will take place at the “Columbia House” on Monday, June 13th at 3 pm.  Note that this meeting date has been changed from June 11th.

There then followed a short preview, from some of those present at the meeting, of what they are working on towards the August Conference on the theme of “Fear.”

Friday, April 29, 2011

This Film Defies Category -- a Good Subject for Us

Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow Movie Review

Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow

Cast & Crew

Director : Sophie Fiennes
Producer : Emilie Blezat, Sophie Fiennes, Kees Kasander
Screenwriter : n/a
Starring : Anselm Kiefer, Klaus Dermutz, Lior Gal, Boualem Moudjaoui, Alain Moittie, Antonio Fernandes, Vincent Adriaens, Philippe Ville
A fascinating, offbeat portrait of a distinctive artist, this film offers very little commentary, merely observing the work as well as the creative process.
It's not a hugely engaging film, but it's an important, beautifully assembled document.

German painter and sculptor Anselm Kiefer has spent the last two decades building elaborate, oversized art at his studio, La Ribaute, in southern France. Previously a silk factory, the derelict buildings are now both a massive studio space and an elaborate network of underground tunnels and chambers. And above the surface there are astonishing tower blocks built from pre-fab concrete slabs. Some of the spaces feel like churches or secret hideouts, others like archaeological digs. Scattered throughout are Kiefer's distinctive sculptures and paintings. And watching him create them is almost like performance art.

Kiefer's work is a genuinely fascinating expression of civilisation, using construction materials in extreme ways that make the environment look like a collage of historical ruins, abject poverty, natural destruction and even futuristic architecture. Built on a huge scale, they are absolutely enthralling, evoking thoughts and feelings in unexpected ways. Combined with the setting, the film feels almost like an exploration of the remnant of some future human civilisation.

Beautifully shot in Cinemascope, Fiennes' camera glides simply through these spaces, capturing the textures and depth, the rough materials and the ways everything interacts with the natural landscape, both above and below ground. After about 15 minutes of observation, we finally get a glimpse of the artist and his assistants at work with metal, glass, ash and a variety of debris he uses to create his large-scale artwork. He also has a casual and very open chat in a library with Dermutz about the inspiration and meaning of his work.

The sound is minimalistic as well, with atonal musical chords and, besides the interview, occasional instructions from Kiefer to his assistants. What makes it watchable is the constant variety of imagery and the continually moving camerawork, which plays with light, colour, reflections and depth of field to make the site itself seem like it's in motion. Essentially this is the kind of film that plays on a loop in an art gallery. And without saying anything overtly, it says rather a lot about the creative process.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Anselm Keifer Sculpture: Book with Wings

Two quotes read on the same day: April 7, 2011



 From Emil Bock (c 1954):

Owing to the lead he had gained over humanity through his destiny, Paul was a fundamental prophecy become living fact.  The truth he uttered in the present was at this same time an unveiling of the future. Therefore, all genuine Christian experience would be of a prophetic nature from now on.  To be a Christian signified to develop future states of human existence and consciousness ahead of time.  This was why it was Paul’s fervent concern that the prophetic gift by cultivated first and foremost of the special talents blossoming in the congregations under the powerful presence of the Spirit.  This gift contained no vestiges of ancient, ecstatic mediumship; it was of a purely future nature.  It awakened in those persons who enkindled the spark of Damascus, who experienced the indwelling of the Christ-ego in their human ego and were thus transported into a future state of humanity’s evolution.  If they succeeded in awakening in themselves the future condition of humanity they could view the present from the perspectives of the future and were able to decipher “the signs of the times.”  The gift of prophecy, recommended so emphatically by Paul as something to be cultivated, was an apocalyptic talent that proceeded not from a diminution but from an intensification of awakened consciousness.

Emil Bock, Saint Paul:  Life, Epistles and Teaching  (Edinburgh: Floris Books, 1993; translation by Maria St. Goar),  p. 309;  (originally published 1954 in German as Paulus.)

From Andrei Tarkovsky (c 1986) and Alexander Pushkin (1846)

There can be no question of a person‘s remaining passive once he has grasped truths of that order, for they come to him without his willing it, and they overturn all his earlier ideas about how the world is.  In a very real sense he is an instrument, a medium, obliged to live and to act for the sake of other people.

Thus Alexander Pushkin considered that every poet, every true artist (and I have always seen myself as a poet rather than a cinematographer)—regardless of whether he wants to be or not—is a prophet.  Pushkin saw the capacity to look into time and predict the future as a terrible gift, and his allotted role caused him untold torment…..I feel that the pen which wrote these lines in 1846 was not held by Alexander Pushkin alone:

Weary from hunger of spirit
Through the grim waste land I dragged my way,
And a six-winged seraph came to me
At a place where two paths crossed.
With finger-tips as light as sleep
He touched the pupils of my eyes,
And my mantic pupils opened
Like eyes of an eagle scared.
As his fingers touched my ears
They were filled with roar and clang:
And I heard the shuddering of the sky,
And angels’s mountain flight,
And sea beasts moving in the deep,
And growth of valley vine.
And he pressed against my mouth,
And out he plucked my sinful tongue,
And all its guile and empty words,
And taking a wise serpent’s tongue
He thrust it in my frozen mouth
With his incardine right hand.
And with his sword he cleft my breast,
And out he plucked my trembling heart,
And in my gaping breast he placed
A coal alive with flames.
Like a corpse I lay in the waste land,
And I heard God’s voice cry out:
“Arise, prophet, and see and hear,
Be charged with my will—
And go out over seas and lands
To fire men's hearts with the word. “

Andrei Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time : Reflections on the Cinema  (translated from the Russian by Kitty Hunter-Blair; New York, Knopf, 1987) pp 220-222.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Andrei Tarkovsky 1932-1986

Walter Benjamin and Andrei Tarkovsky -- Questions and Background


On one of those mornings --waking out of sleep about 3 or 4 --  when all you can do is get something good to read, a hot drink, and stay in bed,  I decided to revisit Walter Benjamin’s “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.”  

Although Benjamin is long dead, one gets his presence distinctly, as with any strong author.  Doesn’t this raise the question of whether – through art reproduction, printing or other means – souls CAN AND DO INDEED communicate via mechanical means?  Benjamin notes the significant loss of the “aura” of a work of art in mechanical reproduction (which only architecture maintains).  Yet he cherished his books, especially the rare early editions.  The tension between word art and image art looms.

What is Benjamin’s spiritual orientation?  His remarkable phenomenological insights stagger us as we slog through the essay sentence by sentence – it would take several months for a group of artists to digest the ramifications – but he omits something of intrinsic importance in his treatise -- the phenomenology of the human being.  Perhaps he treated this in other works.  I am just dipping into Benjamin for the first time.
He seems to be operating under the assumption that "aura" must be experienced within the limits of physical time and space. [Of course upcoming readings from Steiner will expand these limits.]

So let’s look at one of Benjamin's main points about photography and cinema – the elementary gestalt -- holistic human space and time located vision of the human viewer of a theatrical production (or real life incident) – is obliterated or otherwise altered by re-orienting everything through the camera lens only.   In film we get a selective plus mirrored version of real human experience (multi-mirrored by crew and equipment).   Benjamin was commenting on cinema as of the mid 1930s. 

Andrei Tarkovsky approached cinema a generation later.  His oeuvre shows sweepingly distinct progressions in each film.  He shares this journey in Sculpting in Time. He intended to claim cinema as a spiritually-alive art – the opposite of a commercial commodity, which –with a few notable exceptions-- it had become by the 1970s and 1980s while he created his seven main films.  

A question Art Section East might live with for the next few months:

Can cinema, say a certain kind of film – let’s take Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev – fulfill Steiner’s description of spiritual activation of the soul?

Stephen Hawkes provides perspective.  He references "Technology and Art," where Steiner indicated the  art object will not be there for direct effect, "as used to be the case with art in the past, but will be there for the soul to encounter, so that the experience resulting from the encounter will be a work of art.  This of course involves a metamorphosis."

Stephen Hawkes goes on:  "It is this type of metamorphosis that I mean by 'rehabilitation/'  It involves an intersection and inner transformation of all manifested forms:  of nature, of objects of art, technology, and culture, and the participants with those objects, who themselves have become objectified or remain stranded between subjectivity and objectivity in an abject state.  The artist, who seeks to consciously engage matter with spirit, lifts up what remains in darkness and brings it to the light."

from "The Rehabilitation of the Humiliated Object"


For background on this question in relation particularly to Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev,  Vlada Petric shows how Tarkovsky facilitated the “rehabilitation” of the film viewer in his or her own spiritual time and space experience.  This interview is available on line.  I transcribed it from the documentary material appended to the Criterion Collection version of Andrei Rublev. 

Excerpts from Donatella Baglivo’s 1984 documentary Andrei Rublev, Poet of the Cinema, with Tarkovsky interview excerpts and also comments from Columbia U film scholar Vlada Petric.  

Introduction by Vlada Petric:   As one realizes after viewing Andrei Rublev, the film departs from the traditional practice of storytelling in cinema because its narrative refrains from following the protagonist consistently.  Instead, his presence either visual or auditory is used to link the various episodes that are related to one another on the metaphorical level. Consequently, the narrative structure of this film is fragmented and episodic.  While many scenes deviate from the main plot, often involving Rublev as a witness and occasionally excluding him altogether, yet all these diversions and ellipses are associatively and symbolically related to the central theme of the film, providing a deep insight into the character’s psyche.  The seven episodes in the film each marked by a written inter-title, like the chapters in a book, combine to form an epic portrayal of the great medieval Russian painter of frescoes and icons.  In his book entitled Sculpting in Time: Reflections on Cinema, discussing structure Tarkovsky states that the function of a director is “to pick out and join together the bits of sequential facts, focusing on what lies between them while revealing what kind of chain holds them together  [italics mine RM].”  
 
Interrelated on this principle, the seemingly disjointed episodes of Andrei Rublev can be viewed as collections of narrative bits joined together by poetic associations of various images and events in such a way that their progression provides space for metaphoric meaning, which emerges between [vocal emphasis] sequences and juxtaposed shots.  For example, while the protagonist is not seen in the introduction to the film, the action in the sequence relates to the central character on a symbolic level, functioning indeed as a metaphor from a distance or metaphor par distance that is inviting the viewer to establish the sequences’ internal link with the rest of the narrative and to do it later [vocal emphasis] in the process of thinking about the just-viewed film.  What emerges from this retroactive let’s say process, is the idea of exploration, courage in searching for the unknown, learning to face life as it is, including failure to achieve the ultimate goal at once: all the motifs intrinsic to Andrei Rublev’s philosophical preoccupations and his creative vision.  

As is explained in the close analysis of this sequence, one of its visually most impressive shots is repeated later in the film with an obvious metaphoric implication that characterizes many other sequences:  [Description of images in film clips being shown are bolded:] Andrei [Rublev] by the side of the stream drinks water from his hand as images stream by in the water.  Andrei Tarkovsky’s voice [in Russian – English subtitles] says: The pressure Rublev is subject to is not an exception.  An artist never works under ideal conditions.  Family follows the Christ carrying the cross up the snowy hill.  If they existed [Mary’s face is the focus] his work wouldn’t exist, for the artist doesn’t live in a vacuum.  Mary Magdalene joins Mother and goes up the hill.  Some sort of pressure must exist.  The artist exists because the world is not perfect.  Art would be useless if the world were perfect Christ figure is relieved of cross for a while  as man wouldn’t look for harmony but would simply live in it.  Art is designed out of an ill designed world.  cross being hauled up the snowy hill by ropes This is the issue in Rublev.  Christ claws his way up mountain as Mother, Mary and John look at him and their individual faces react independently.  AT:  the search for harmonic relationships among men, between art and life, between time and history, that’s what my film is all about.  Inscription being nailed onto the cross.

[Now Tarkovsky in person speaks without the film background]  AT:  Another important theme is man’s experience.  In this film my message is that it’s impossible to pass on experience to others or learn from others.  We must live our own experience, we cannot inherit it. People often say:  Use your father’s experience!  Too easy.  Each of us must get our own.  But once we’ve got it, we no longer have the time to use it and the new generations rightly refuse to listen to it.  They want to live it, but then they also die.  This is the law of life, its real meaning.  We cannot impose our experience on other people or force them to feel suggested emotions.  Only through personal experience we understand life.  Rublev the monk lived a complex life.  He studied with Master Radonevsky at the Holy Trinity, but he lived at variance with his teaching.  He got to see the world through his master’s eyes.  Only at the end of his life he lived his own way.

Petric:  Tarkovey didn’t want Andrei Rublev to be an epic film in the classical sense. Lacking a central hero protagonist, it is the film’s spatial and thematic breadth that functions on an epic level, evoking history through a synthesis of myth, legend and folklore.  The visual sense of epic flow as we know falls in numerous panoramic shots of Russian landscape photographed in various seasons and combined with the mises en scenes depicted in medieval frescoes.

Tarkovsky’s method of joining together the various narrative lines is intended to achieve a cinematic entity in which all elements affect each other. Starting from the premise that beauty is in the balance of the parts, Tarkovsky is most of all preoccupied with the emotional impact the moving images exert on the viewer, with the secondary concern for their potential interpretation.  He calls it a paradox as he explains that the more perfect the work, the more clearly does one feel the absence of any associations generated by it.  A complex film, he continues, structured in a way like his Andrei Rublev, generates an infinite number of associations, which ultimately mean the same thing.

With such an uncompromising creative attitude and highly aesthetic concerns, Tarkovsky’ concept of cinema is antithetical to the commercial production code, or especially the Hollywood entertainment practice that doesn’t care for art.  Unwilling to make any concessions in that respect, he uses cinema as a means of exploring central questions, such as:  What is art?  What is the meaning of human existence, how to communicate feelings, and ideas.  (go to brookside scene with AT sitting in notch of tree).

Donatella Baglivo:  Andrei, what is art?

Andrei Tarkovsky:  Before defining art or any concept, we must answer a far broader question:  what is the meaning of man’s life on Earth?  Maybe we are here to enhance ourselves spiritually.  If our life tends to this spiritual enrichment, then art is a way to get there.  This of course is in accordance with my definition of life.  Art should help man in this process.  Some say that art helps man to know the world like any other intellectual activity.  I don’t believe in this possibility of knowing; I am almost an agnostic. Knowledge distracts us from our main purpose in life.  The more we know, the less we know; getting deeper our horizon becomes narrower.  Art enriches man’s own spiritual capabilities, and he can then rise above himself to use what we call ‘free will.” 

Vlada Petric:  Tarkovsky believes that what matters in life and art is the very process of creative involvement: the ultimate aesthetic value of a film and its concrete direct social function. Rublev also states it clearly at the end of the film when he consoles the weeping Boriska, assuring him that the most important thing is that Boriska succeeded in making people happy.  Of course, it is Tarkovsky’s own philosophy and attitude toward life, his message to young people.

Donatella Baglivo:  (to AT) What would you like to tell young people?

AT:  Learn to love solitude, to be more alone with your selves. The problem with young people is their carrying out noisy and aggressive actions not to feel lonely.  And this is a sad thing. The individual must learn to be on his own as a child, for this doesn’t mean to be alone; it means not to get bored with oneself, which is a very dangerous symptom, almost a disease.  Hey, beauty, come here! (to a horse ) How beautiful! Fabulous animal! – Excerpt from Andrei Rublev:  a horse enjoying rolling over in the sand by the river with voice saying: How nice is the sound of a horse passing by.

AT continues:  Cinema is an unhappy art as it depends on money (film image from Solaris: drive through Tokyo expressway: tunnels and bridges) Not only because a film is very expensive, but then it is also marketed, like cigarettes, etc.  A film is good if it sells well.  But if cinema is an art, such an approach is absurd: it would mean that art is good only if it sells well.  Knowing this very well, I don’t complain.  I can’t demand special terms for my films since these terms don’t exist.  The film for the larger audience cannot be poetical.  Some films have been seen by millions of people, but this happened at the dawn of silent cinema when each new film attracted people’s curiosity.  Now it’s difficult to surprise the spectator and good films are not seen by the masses.

Petric:  Tarkovsky died as a relatively young man without abandoning the hope that cinema as an art form will eventually reach a brighter day.  Montage of images from Andrei Rublev

posted by Rosemary McMullen