Cinematic and Architectonic Space in Tarkovsky's "Solaris"

By Blayne Fulton and Gul Kacmaz Erk.

Published by The International Journal of Arts Theory and History

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

Architecture plays an important role in Andrei Tarkovsky’s films in defining the atmosphere of a space and memory of a place. This paper is a study of how the settings in Tarkovsky’s “Solaris” (1972) are used to provoke and convey feelings to the audience through architectonic space depicting the city, library, home and aspects of the home such as paintings and mirrors. The rooms depicted in “Solaris” (Fig. 1) are filled with symbolism and detail. They are imbued with a poetic quality rarely seen in cinema. The everyday places of city, library and home in “Solaris” are given an emotional depth not usually found in these spaces in reality. “Solaris” is an anomaly among Tarkovsky’s films in that the majority of the narrative takes place in an enclosed built set. Rarely do Tarkovsky’s spaces exert so much control over the actors’ movements within a meticulously designed and detailed set. This paper analyses how the director uses constructed sets in “Solaris” to confront our perception of memories, dreams and reality. The intent of this study is to gain better understanding of the link between architecture and other art forms such as painting and cinema through spatial analysis. This study also relates to our imagination and how we perceive architectonic space portrayed through cinematic images. The architectural theory of Juhani Pallasmaa forms the basis of this paper.

Keywords: Architectonic Space, Cinema, Architecture

The International Journal of Arts Theory and History, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp.27-38. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 456.023KB).

Blayne Fulton

Student, School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Queen's University, Belfast, UK

Blayne Fulton is a Master of Architecture student at Queen’s University Belfast. He received his Bachelor of Science in Architecture at Queen’s University Belfast and previously worked as an architectural assistant in Bucharest, Romania. His Master of Architecture dissertation, “Sensing Architecture in Space—Solaris,” was written under the supervision of Dr. Gul Kacmaz Erk and focused on the relationship between cinema and architectural space.

Dr. Gul Kacmaz Erk

Lecturer in Architecture, School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Queen’s University, Belfast, UK

Dr. Gul Kacmaz Erk is a lecturer in architecture at Queen’s University Belfast, UK. She received her Bachelor and Master degrees in Architecture at Middle East Technical University and her PhD in Architectural Design at Istanbul Technical University, Turkey. She practiced as a professional architect in Istanbul and Amsterdam. She was a researcher at University of Pennsylvania, USA and University College Dublin, Ireland, and taught at Philadelphia University, USA; Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands; and Izmir University of Economics, Turkey. In her research, she focuses on cinema and the city, architecture and film, architectural media and communication, and architectural design and theory.