Excerpt from Le Figaro, October 1986
In the supreme meaning of the concept of freedom, and especially freedom in relation to art, freedom does not exist. The idea of freedom exists - it is a reality of social and political life. People live with various degrees of freedom in different regions and countries. However, there is proof that even in the most grueling circumstances, people can persevere with an unbelievable amount of inner freedom, a kind of greatness of their inner world. Freedom does not exist as a choice. Freedom is a spiritual condition. One can be socially and politically free, yet still be crumbling under impermanence and insecurity.
Regarding freedom and art, there can be no question. No art can exist without freedom. The absence of freedom automatically devalues an artistic creation - it prevents art from being expressed in its most glorious form. Thus, the artwork ceases to exist, despite being physically present. In art, we must see not only art. Unfortunately, in the 20th century, the prevalent tendency was the “artist-individual”, who, instead of creating art, uses art for the sake of expressing his or her own “I”. Art thus becomes an expression of this “I”, and is transformed into the loudspeaker of the author’s petty pretensions. Paul Valéry often wrote of this. Genuine artists and geniuses - they are slaves of the gift that they have been given. Through this gift, they are eternally obliged to humanity. It is their duty to spiritually feed and serve the people. This is how I see freedom.
- Andrei Tarkovsky
[translation - Ivan Moshchuk]