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Fine Arts

 

"I wish to read to you, Ladies and Gentlemen, my Little Manifesto (I am still writing manifestos), which was written especially for this occasion.
Before I read it, however, to make it clearer will take the liberty to remind you that the fundamental (if I could use this pathetic word) idea behind my creative work has been and is the idea of reality, which I labelled the Reality of the Lowest Rank.
        It can be used to explain my paintings, emballages, poor objects, and equally poor characters, who, like the Prodigal Son, return home after a long journey.
Today I would like to use the same metaphor to describe myself:
        "It is not true that MODERN man has conquered fear. This is a lie! Fear exists. There is fear of the external world, of what the future will bring, of death, of the unknown, of nothingness, and of emptiness.
It is not true that artists are heroes and fearless victors, as we are led to believe by old legends and myths.
        Believe me, they are poor and defenceless beings who chose to take their place opposite fear. It was a conscious act. It is in consciousness that fear is born. I am standing in front of you. I, the accused who is standing in front of harsh but just judges. And this is the difference between the dadaists, whose heir I am, and me.
        "Please, get up!" cried the Grand Scoffer, Francis Picabia. "You are indicted."

And today I will correct this once impressive invocation: I am standing in front of you. I am the one who is accused and indicted.
       I am supposed to justify myself and find evidence of, I do not know which, my innocence or my guilt.
       I am standing in front of you, as I used to stand at the class desk... in the past..., and I am saying: I forgot I knew, I assure you, Ladies and Gentlemen..."


Kantor, Tadeusz. A Little Manifesto. Original typescript from the Cricoteka Archives, 1978.

 

       

       The section "Fine Arts" covers Tadeusz Kantor's paintings, objects created by the artist for Cricot 2 Theatre, as well as those existing as autonomous works of art, and finally Tadeusz Kantor's happenings, which the artist himself classified as fine arts.

 

 

Małgorzata Paluch-Cybulska

 

Translated by: Monika Markiewicz