Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Whoever needs Art

Naturally, there is a problem here: if you are the people's voice then say only what people demand of you. But here lies the problem, people demand of you nothing. People demand nothing of nobody. It is the artist who behaves as if something was demanded of him, expected of him. Naturally, people do expect, but unconsciously. And exactly in the name of this duty to the public, the people, the times he lives in, he ought to always remember that he does not create for himself. But — although he does not create for himself — he should express only what he feels intimate. Here it may turn out that ideas close to your heart, some aspects of your creative work are not needed by anybody. But in this case you have no right... here you are powerless, you can at most just wait hundred years until it becomes clear whether people needed you at all in the first place. This is something one cannot confidently state in one's own time.

It is very difficult to be both useful to the society and at the same time truthful, it is difficult to be convinced about usefulness of one's work if nobody needs it. Nevertheless, there is but one path: to do what seems proper. And time will tell. Because no one can judge one's efforts at the time they are made. That's why I abhor attempts to moralise artists, telling them what they should and what they should not do. Taking any positions in art — leftist, rightist — this is all such nonsense as, as... to be completely meaningless. An artist can be made your supporter in a political sense only much la-a-a-a-ater, la-a-a-a-ater, when he is dead already, when only his books or films are alive. And it can be like this: "See what he was saying? — same thing we are saying." And later, say next year everything changes and it turns out he was saying something completely different, something that caught the attention of some second or third guy. In brief — an artist has no right, that is not that he has no right, he has no instrument which would make him any closer to his people's needs than he already is. He can only believe that God will grant him the possibility of eventually being needed by the nation. Whether he succeeds or not — this is something he does not know and cannot know at this moment.

From this vantage point cinema is a very dangerous art because it is expected to be immediately successful. There is no time. Success has to come immediately. And that's why very often a filmmaker's success does not mean at all that his inner world is, so to speak, worthy of his times and his contemporaries, contemporary problems — and of his people — let's put it this way. There are too many temptations: stereotypes, preconceptions, common places, artistic ideas other than one’s own. And really it’s so easy to shoot a scene beautifully, for effect, for acclaim...But you only have to take one step in that direction and you are lost...A work becomes dated as a result of the conscious effort to be expressive and contemporary; these are not things to be achieved; they have to be in you.

(Andrei Tarkovski)

No comments: