Andrey Tarkovsky, born on 4 April 1932 in the Volga region, is considered by many to be one of the world’s greatest filmmakers. Although he made just eight feature films before his life was cut short by cancer at the age of 54, each is an artistic masterpiece and a landmark in world cinema. Tarkovsky studied Arabic at the Moscow Institute of Oriental Languages, and Geology in Siberia, before enrolling in the famous VGIK Moscow film school in 1959. In 1960 he made his prize-winning graduation short, The Steamroller and the Violin. In the early 1980s, Tarkovsky left Russia permanently. The few remaining years of his life were plagued by a constant struggle with the Soviet authorities to allow his family, particularly his young son, Andrey, to join him. His filmmaking career started again in Italy where he followed the television documentary Tempo di viaggio (1983) with his most accomplished film since Mirror, Nostalgia, written in collaboration with the distinguished screenwriter Tonino Guerra. By the time Tarkovsky started work on his final film, The Sacrifice, he was seriously ill with cancer. He died on 29 December 1986 and was buried at the Russian cemetery Sainte-Genevièvedes- Bois near Paris.

These previously unseen polaroids from the Florence-based Tarkovsky Foundation were taken in Russia and Italy between 1979 and 1984. Tarkovsky’s parents – poet Arseniy Tarkovsky and Maria Ivanovna Vishniakova – divorced while he was still a child, and his father’s poetry features in Mirror, Stalker and Nostalgia, while his mother makes an appearance in Mirror. From romantic landscapes and studied portraits to private shots of the auteur’s family and friends – including the distinguished scriptwriter Tonino Guerra – all these polaroids demonstrate the singular compositional and visual-poetic ability of this master image-maker, and many taken in Russia extend the personal imagery of the film Mirror.

This is a limited edition portfolio of 25 Tarkovsky’s polaroids by White Space Gallery and the Tarkovsky Foundation. Printed in Florence, Italy 2007. Edition of 12 + 3 A/P. Lambdas printed on 40×50 paper with polaroids 30 cm large. Portfolio box 42x52x7 cm.

Films and other productions:

The Steamroller and the Violin (short, 1960) Ivan’s Childhood (1962) Andrei Rublev (1966 rel. 1971) Solaris (1972) Mirror (1974) Hamlet (1977) – The Lenkom Theatre (Moscow) Stalker (1979) Tempo di viaggio (1983) TV documentary Nostalgia (1983) Moussorgsky’s opera Boris Godunov (1983) – Covent Garden (London) The Sacrifice (1986)


Venice Film Festival, Lion of St. Mark Award, best film, 1962, for Ivan’s Childhood; Cannes Film Festival, International Critics Award, 1969, for Andrei Rublev; Cannes Film Festival, Grand Prize of the Jury Award, 1972, for Solaris; Merited Artistic Worker of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (RSFSR), 1974; Cannes Film Festival, Grand Prize of the Jury Award, best screenplay, 1983, for Nostalgia; Cannes Film Festival Award, Prize for First Work-Full Length Films, 1983; Cannes Film Festival, Grand Prix, 1986, for The Sacrifice; Cannes Film Festival, Grand Prize of the Jury Award, 1986, for The Sacrifice; British Academy Film and Television Arts Award, best foreign language film, 1988, for The Sacrifice

Selected Exhibitions
Instant Light. Tarkovsky Polaroids

Convent of S. Maria, Gonzaga, Italy

Wiesbaden Museum, Wiesbaden, Germany
Palazzo Chigi, San Quirico d’orcio, Italy
Sala alla porta San Agostino, Bergamo, Italy

Cantonale d’Arte Museum, Lugano, Switzerland
Scuderie di Palazzo Moroni, Padova, Italy
Galleria d’Arte Moderna di Palazzo Sarchielli, Conegliano, Italy

Galleria dell’Archivio Storico di Firenze, Florence, Italy
Francesco della Scarpa Church, Lecce, Italy

2007 – 2008
Bright Bright Day. Tarkovsky Polaroids 1979-1984
White Space Gallery, London, UK

Luis Seoane Foundation, Coruna, Spain
City of Dialogue, Lodz, Poland

Spazio Oberdan, Milano, Italia
CCB Centro Cultural de Belem, Lisabone, Portugal

MASP Museu de Arte de São Paulo, San Paolo, Brazil