Mirror and Pomegranate

An artist who is born an artist materializes his art across many media platforms, “choosing to express the entire world in a single drop of water”. Those who do so, feel a sense of moral obligation to express their respective reality from a possible choice of following the status quo, artificially crafted by a group of people called a government. On the other hand, artists are there to poke, to challenge and ultimately to transform.

The artist who challenges a political system is like the partisan that stands in the front line with a weapon in one hand and a sense of moral duty on the other with the exception that a partisan dies fighting in battle while the artist fires his first shot upon his death, through the re-birth of his master piece, always speaking louder than the partisan’s memorial monument.

Legendary Soviet cinema figures Sergei Parajanov and Andrey Tarkovsky, were fed and bred by the controversies of the system. Through poetic visual language and abstract expression they construct a proximate world of life in the Soviet Union- their imagery is astute and symbolic, allowing an associative gap for the viewer to fill by himself. A direct criticism of the system during the 60s and 70s was fatal, encouraging artists to explore deeply into constructing obscure means for portraying the work’s true intention, leaving us with a sense of mystery and bedazzlement.

Parajanov’s and Tarkovsky’s work in this sense can be compared with one of the greatest masters, Leonardo Da Vinici, who also chose to conceal the true meaning behind his pieces. In fact both of the directors died young, as a result of ‘ill health’ while Parajanov was banned from producing films for the next15 years, after his film The Color of Pomegranates, was received as an attack to the system. An artist always finds his way into expression however, and throughout his most difficult years of imprisonment and productive deprivation, Parajanov explored his artistic talents even further. In particular he designed collages that replicate the same poetic visual language representative of his films. In fact he saw the collages as direct cinematographic substitutes.

While not imprisoned, Tarkovsky fled the Sovet Union during the last years of his life and shot films in both Italy and Sweden. Like Parajanov, Tarkovsky captured visual language in a Polaroid image and then went on to replicate it in his films. His films are abstract and philosophical pushing the viewer to really explore the dual intention, which is often dark and melancholic- a reflection of the director’s personal experience while living in the Soviet Union. Tarkovsky and Parajanov developed a strong friendship, regularly exchanging considerate thoughts in letters during Parajanov’s extensive stay in prison.

Artmost captured the best of Tarkovsky’s and Parajanov’s intimate and personal expressions in a form photographs and collages, a rare opportunity to experience the inner workings from the Soviet Union’s two most distinguished film directors.

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