The Artist

“The artist has a duty to be calm. He has no right to show his emotion, his involvement, to go pouring it all out at the audience. Any excitement over a subject must be sublimated into an Olympian calm of form. That is the only way in which an artist can tell of the things that excite him.”

– Andrei Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time

Enigmatic like his films, this quotation from Tarkovsky perhaps needs some explanation. My understanding of it is this: every art – cinema, poetry, music, or anything else – has a particular form. This form marks its essence, although that art may carry the forms of another art too. For music, that form is sound and rhythm. For poetry it is the intuitive connection of words. For painting it is imagery. For prose it is the story. Hence, music may use poetry, but if its greatness lies in its musicality, it is not the words by the sounds that are to be given credit.

Every artist, therefore, must express himself by moulding the form of his art in the manifestation of his own being. A poet has an idea about a poem on solitude. What makes the poem truly affecting is not the explicit expression wherein the poet may say “I am alone”. Rather, it is the manner in which the form of the poem expresses solitude. The rhythm in which the words are put together, the rhymes of the lines, the sound of the words, the order in which the various lines are put – this is the form of the poem and this is what must reek of solitude. Solitude enters the structure of the art form rather than merely its surface.

This, of course, is only possible if the artist himself is solitude. He feels it so fully and so centrally in his being that his creation is not merely a banal expression of his mind, but is formed as an expression of who he is – totally.


~ by tdcatss on June 15, 2013.

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