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Andrei Tarkovsky Polaroids to be auctioned in London

Andrei Tarkovsky Polaroids to be auctioned in London
Still from Ivan's Childhood (1962, dir. Andrei Tarkovsky)

18 August 2016

Polaroid photos taken by legendary Russian film director Andrei Tarkovsky will be auctioned at Bonhams in London this autumn.

Shot both in the director’s native Russia and in Italy, while working on his 1983 film Nostalgia, many of the photographs are technically flawed. It is expected that those that exhibit colour fading, blurriness or haziness due to light spill, will be the most sought after — these shots are reminiscent of frames from his filmic works.

Indeed, in an introduction for an album of the photographs that was published in 2006, Tarkovsky’s scriptwriter Tonino Guerra wrote that even the Polaroid shots were an echo of how Tarkovsky “often reflected on the way that time flies” and his desire “to stop it”.

“These photographs were intensely personal to him,” Daria Chernenko, head of the Russian art department at Bonhams, said. “Once he discovered the Polaroid camera, friends recall him with it always in his hand. [...] Every image was personally chosen: some are quite misty, but they are ones he wanted to keep – as he took them, he routinely burned the ones he was dissatisfied with.”

The 257 Polaroids are being sold in 29 separate lots by his son and archivist Andrey. It is estimated that they could sell for up to £500,000 ($657,000) in total. According to Ms. Chernenko, Tarkovsky’s son decided to divide the collection into themed lots because the collection in its entirety would likely be too expensive for the many fans and enthusiasts who would like to purchase some of the photographs.

“We very much hope some will be acquired by a museum or film institute,” she added.

Tarkovsky’s Polaroid photographs will go on display at Bonhams in London from 2 October, subsequently going on sale on 6 October.

Groundbreaking Soviet and Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky (d.1986) is known for such films as Ivan’s Childhood (1962), Andrei Rublev (1966), Solaris (1972), The Mirror (1975), Stalker (1979) and Nostalgia (1983) and The Sacrifice (1986).

Source: The Guardian