Goplana and the Elves

The exhibition evokes questions about the rank and status of objects. Goplana with Elves were not meant to be a decoration, but to “embody a stage character”. For Kantor, the object as a “form – a spatial sculpture with a metaphorical function” became an element of ambient art; arranging a space which is meant to “absorb” the viewer.

Tadeusz Kantor next to the Goplana | Photo: Witold Witaliński

“Goplana and the Elves”
Sienna 7/5, Tadeusz Kantor Gallery-Workshop
March 7th – June 29th, 2022
Monday – Wednesday, 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Admission free

The object “Goplana and the elves” refers to the play “Balladine” which Tadeusz Kantor directed in 1943 in the Underground Independent Theatre. Unlike in Słowacki’s text, Kantor’s Goplana is not an ethereal nymph. The human figure has been replaced by a simplified, geometric form. The artist’s radical gesture shows a fascination with Constructivism and Bauhaus theater, especially Oscar Schlemmer’s “Triadic Ballet.” Such a departure from realism was also a result of the experience of the occupation and the associated dehumanization that disparaged the human figure. 

No objects or props survived from the war. In the second half of the 1980s, with the Cricot 2 Theatre Museum in mind, Kantor began creating replicas of the objects that had not been preserved. They were supposed to evoke ideas that were important to him. “Goplana” was made of galvanized sheet metal and wood, which were the artist’s favorite materials. She is accompanied by two Elves made of light, openwork structures. 

Curators: Małgorzata Paluch-Cybulska, Bogdan Renczyński