March 17, 2010

Imperfections


"The genius is revealed not in the absolute perfection of a work but in absolute fidelity to himself, in commitment to his own passion. The passionate aspiration of the artist to the truth, to knowing the world and himself in the world, endows with special meaning even the somewhat obscure, or, as they are called, 'less successful' passages in his works.
"One might even go further; I don't know a single masterpiece that does not have its weaknesses or is completely free of imperfections. For the individual bias that makes the genius, and the singleness of purpose which sustains his work, are the source not only of the greatness of a masterpiece but also of its lapses. Again -- can lapses be the right name for something that is organically part of an integral world outlook? The genius is not free. As Thomas Mann wrote: 'Only indifference is free. What is distinctive is never free, it is stamped with its own seal, conditioned and chained'."
-- Andrei Tarkovsky, from Sculpting in Time. University of Texas Press, 1986. The picture is a still from Stalker.