“The subjectivity of costumes in Kantor’s theatre is undeniable; for him, costumes were living entities with identities of their own, parasites on actors, feeding on them, sprouting from them and growing increasingly independent from the hosts. Taking this idea of costumes as their departure point, the curators set out to augment their function. Excised from the reality of performances, extracted from museum storerooms, the costume becomes a guarantor and transmitter of experience. It is no longer a utility item, not even an object which assumes control and appropriates subjectivity. Instead, it transforms into a medium enabling the formation of an ephemeral community encompassing the material and the immaterial: viewers, costumes, absent actors, Kantor’s artistic ego, but also public and private histories recorded by the director in performances and brough along by visitors. By installing mirrors which reflect / absorb, the curators have managed to radically democratise this multitude of perspectives and beings.
Quite unprecedented in terms of institutional practices is the curator duo that emerged for this exhibition. Bogdan Renczyński is a member of the Cricoteka team with a long acting career at the Cricot 2 Theatre. With this authorial installation he enters into a memorydriven, demanding private dialogue with costumes, oscillating between coming to terms with the past and paying homage. Usually busy with staging educational activities, Justyna Droń cares for the authenticity and liveliness of the interaction between the legacy of the Theatre and the public. The curators have come together to challenge the unofficial but very distinct division observed by cultural institutions between curators and educators, and to develop a mode of exhibiting that inspires viewers to engage more intensely than ever before.”
Magdalena Link-Lenczowska, Natalia Zarzecka
Catalogue of the exhibition “Private. Tadeusz Kantor’s Theatrical Costumes”