Tuesday, July 31, 2007
An extract from The Snakeskin :
'Artistic creativity has always manifested itself in me as a sort of hunger. I have observed this need in myself with some gratification, but I have never in all my conscious life asked why this hunger should arise and demand to be satisfied. In the last few years, as it has begun to ease off, and been transformed into something else, I have begun to feel it important to try to establish the reason for my ‘artistic activity’… it was fairly obvious that the cinema should be my chosen means of expression. I made myself understood in a language that by-passed words, which I lacked; music, which I have never mastered; and painting, which left me unmoved. Suddenly, I had the possibility of corresponding with the world around me in a language that is literally spoken from soul to soul, in terms that avoid control by the intellect in a manner almost voluptuous. I threw myself into my medium with all the dammed up hunger of my childhood and for twenty years, in a sort of rage, I have communicated dreams, sensual experiences, fantasies, outbursts of madness, neuroses, the convulsions of faith and outright lies…
By and large art is free, shameless, irresponsible and the movement is intense, almost feverish; it resembles, it seems to me, a snakeskin full of ants. The snake itself is long since dead, eaten out from within, deprived of its poison; but the skin moves, filled with busy life.
If I now observe that I happen to be one of these ants, then I must ask myself whether there is any reason to pursue the activity further. The answer is yes…I feel like a prisoner who has served a long sentence and suddenly tumbled out into the booming, howling snorting world outside. I am seized by intractable curiosity. I note, I observe, I have my eyes with me, everything is unreal, fantastic, frightening or ridiculous. I capture a flying particle of dust, perhaps it’s a film – and of what importance will that be: none whatsoever, but I myself find it interesting so it’s a film. I revolve with the objects I have captured for myself and am cheerfully or melancholically occupied. I elbow my way in with the other ants, we do a colossal job. The snakeskin moves.
This and this only is my truth. I don’t ask that it should be true for anyone else and, as comfort for eternity, it is naturally on the slim side. As a basis for artistic activity during the next few years it is entirely adequate, at least for me.
To be an artist for one’s own sake is not always very agreeable. But it has one outstanding advantage: the artist is on an equal footing with every other creature who also exists solely for his own sake. Taken together, we are probably a fairly large brotherhood who exist in this way in selfish fellowship on the warm, dirty earth, under a cols and empty sky.' – Ingmar Bergman, 1965
Age of Uncertainty on Bergman
Baroque in Hackney