Friday, February 8, 2013

Turbulence

By Petar Meseldzija

A frame from the movie Endrei Rublev by Andrei Tarkovsky

Some of you have probably noticed that my posts have become short and somewhat meager lately. One of the main reasons is that, for some time now, my mind has been tormented by my own present artistic infertility and a feeling that I have lost my direction, my compass. Well, this is nothing unusual because all of us experience similar kind of problems at the certain moment in our life. This often marks a turning point, approaching of the crossroads, a transition from one stage, or level, to another. Such a situation inevitably creates a certain amount of turbulence and disorder, since the fundamental and established thoughts, desires and dreams, that have powered our system and allowed it to be stable and to function optimally, for a certain reason start to move and shake.

I have reached the place in my artistic career which I was longing for to arrive at for many preceding years. This kind of longing of mine does not exists anymore, it has fulfilled its function by bringing me to the desired spot. No longing, no motivation. No motivation, no creative vitality. However uncomfortable and disturbing, this turbulence and the mental pain and disorientation that goes with it, has forced me to reconsider the very motifs for becoming an artist and for spending the biggest portion of my life on making art.

As a result of this struggle I came up with a statement that is supposed to help me find a new sense of direction and purpose, and therefore revitalize the creative spirit in me. It is expressed through the following words:

- If my work (art) keeps me from doing a backbreaking physical work, or a mind numbing monotonous kind of work, and helps me feed myself and my family, it’s good!

- If it helps me express my mental and emotional issues, it’s excellent.

- If it helps others to get closer to their own heart, it’s useful.

- If it helps me get famous and rich, it’s seductive and tricky.

- If it guides me through my inner Dark Forest, helps me slain dragons and demons, or make them my friends and allies, and shows me the way out of it to a sunny meadow, it’s wondrous, it fulfills its holy purpose and justifies itself.

One of the reasons I am revealing this rather intimate issue to you is that I know that there are many souls out there who are having, or will have in the future, the same kind of issues with themselves and their art. My confession will not solve your problem, but it might help a little by showing you that you are not alone in this struggle, that even the accomplished and “successful” among us have to deal with these things sooner or later, in one or another way. It might help you realize that perhaps you too have to come up with some kind of statement that will calm down your psyche and help you regain the balance and peace of mind. As it has always been, the ways of the World are often seductive and misleading, and there is always a price tag attached to it.

In that respect, I was delighted to discover that a much bigger artist and a greater mind than myself has defined art and its purpose in a similar way. Below you can find out what Andrei Tarkovsky (1932 Zavrazhye, Soviet Union – 1986 Paris, France), one of the greatest Russian movie directors, said about ART. The films of Andrei Tarkovsky have been revered as ranking on a par with the masterpieces of Russia's novelists and composers. His work, from films such as Ivan's Childhood , Andrey Rublev , Solaris, Stalker, has had an enormous influence on the style of contemporary European film.


15 comments:

  1. I just wanted to say thanks for all the time you put into your posts.

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  2. Thankyou for sharing, that's a valuable post.
    I found myself at a similar place, inconveniently, halfway through my degree.
    I figured "Paint what matters most to you".
    Oddly enough this can lead an artist to paint anything from their own emotional distress to political issues, sunlight or even food and wine.
    I've not found myself at the same place since.
    I believe there's always something that lights our fire creatively, it never really fades out.

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  3. Petar, just so that you are aware, you have already accomplished this and continue to do so. "- If it helps others to get closer to their own heart, it’s useful." Thank you for that.

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  4. Thank you Petar,
    I am sort of going through this right now, "What's the use of painting or drawing." I usually try to answer: I do it for myself, but some times this just doesn't kick in. This post helped and the film was interesting.
    Bill

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  5. A wise man once wrote to us:
    "However, once you have finally climbed the steep and tricky slopes and have reached the highest peak of this mountain, you will discover that there is even a greater mountain in front of you. This mountain will be covered in mist, and although you will not be able to see the peak, you will sense its presence behind the curtains of fog."
    It is up to you to set that new goal, if you choose to "leave the comfortable position on the lower mountain peak". I think you will make the right desidion- after all how can you keep on guiding us, if you are lost yourself :)

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  6. Petar, you've done many great posts here, you've shown us incredible works of art and how passionate you are about each and every one of them. This however, just might be your most meaningful post. Thank you for the insight.

    Wish you all the best, and any luck you may need, for this journey.

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  7. I just wanted to chime in and say thank you, your posts are always meaningful, and your art is way beyond helpful in finding my own voice. It is very inspirational. I believe that those points that you have defined for yourself about your art seem very reasonable and positive. Like Andrei says in the interview, art is about the human condition with all its struggles and imperfections, which is important to remember when you are in doubt about your capabilities. This can be very difficult to remember though when you are down in the deepest trenches, but then again, if it wasn't, the emotion wouldn't be genuine.

    For me at least it can help to think about these doubts as obstacles on an artistic journey, the more difficult the obstacle is, the stronger and more confident you will emerge after conquering it. So I am certain that when you find your sense of direction in your artistic journey again, you will be even more of a visionary than before!

    Best Wishes!

    Staffan

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  8. Recently I went through a similar period. The frustration and struggle felt like it would never end... sounds dramatic, I know, but when you're in it it can be overpowering... which is why knowing you aren't alone is so heartening. Thankfully this period passed for me and I now feel like I am more integrated and my work is more meaningful to me than it was before and during the period of struggle.

    Anyway, it's an odd coincidence, but I have been trying to remember the name of this director. I saw Ivan's Childhood during a college course and recently images from that film have been springing to mind, but I couldn't remember the director or the film's name. So I must thank you profusely for this as well as for this insightful post.

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  10. Dear people, thank you so much for your kind words of support! I am honestly touched by your empathy! It is truly wondrous how a little confession in combination with a bit of kindness and understanding we get from others can help ease the pain!

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