Exhibition “Tadeusz Kantor. Wielopole, Wielopole. The Last Supper”

November 3, 2016 – March 19, 2017

The performance of Wielopole, Wielopole was prepared by Tadeusz Kantor with the Cricot 2 Theatre team in Florence (premiered on 23rd June 1980 in a deconsecrated church in 25 Santa Maria Street, Florence) in 1979 and 1980. For the performance which was part of the Theatre of Death, Kantor reconstructed his Childhood Room on stage, evoking the situations, family members and objects he could remember. The final scene of the spectacle was the Last Supper. It is this installation of objects from the collection of the Centre for the Documentation of the Art of Tadeusz Kantor Cricoteka in Krakow, elaborately arranged on stage by Kantor, that is displayed at the Antonio Pasqualino International Puppet Museum in Palermo.

photo Jerzy Borowski

photo Jerzy Borowski

At the back of the wooden stage a sliding door was mounted. In stage directions Kantor wrote: “The Last Supper scene is to take place ‘behind the door’, clandestinely, ‘in a corner’, following the rules of children’s plays and secret codes inaccessible to grown-ups, enigmatic. It is supposed to be pathetic and poor. The door to the hallway is open but it can be closed at any moment.” In the Last Supper, there is a window in the artist’s childhood room through which the Master had looked out at the world, a lamp and crosses, highlighting the wartime context of Kantor’s childhood, the fact that “This Last Supper takes place in battle fields and cemeteries of the WAR.” The scene is accompanied by Uncle Stasio – Deportee in Siberia playing a Christmas carol on violin. Kantor wrote: “The Deportee-Pedlar begins his last performance. A CAROL. The evangelical LAST SUPPER is blended with Christmas Eve. On all battle fields, in the ROOM of our childhood.” Presented at the exhibition, the costume of Uncle-Deportee with crutches and a violin brings the nostalgic final scene of the spectacle to mind, when all figures ‘de-remembered’ by the artist leave the stage in an attempt to evacuate, helpless, leaving the creator on stage, abandoned and surrounded by silence broken only by the sounds of the carol. There is a long table placed upon two chairs and covered with a cloth: “So: a table covered with an impeccably starched white tablecloth with distinct fold lines. A while later, on the very front of the stage there is a table covered with white linen.” Kantor folds the cloth most carefully, slowly and tenderly, puts it under his arm and leaves the stage, thus ending the performance.

 

Małgorzata Paluch-Cybulska