I. Tadeusz Kantor Museum
Tadeusz Kantor Museumis a subdivision of the Centre for the Documentation of the Art of Tadeusz Kantor CRICOTEKA, established pursuant to the decision of the Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage of 2018 (no. 862 in the Museums Register of the Ministry). Establishing the museum is a formal recognition of Cricoteka’s museum profile. Founded in 1980 on the initiative of Tadeusz Kantor, Cricoteka originated as the Centre of Cricot 2 Theatre, formerly located in 5 Kanonicza St.
For almost a decade, until his death in 1990, Kantor was laying the foundations for the functioning of the centre, intended as a ‘Living Archive’ of his creative output, including works of theatre, art and theoretical publications. The aim of the Centre was to preserve the artist’s ideas ‘not through a lifeless library system but in the minds and imaginations of future generations’. According to Kantor’s wishes, from the very outset Cricoteka combined the functions of a museum, an archive, a gallery and research centre, collecting unique materials documenting the activity of Cricot 2 Theatre and its founder.
On 12 September 2014, the new building of Cricoteka in 2–4 Nadwiślańska St. in Kraków was opened, storing the entire collection of Kantor memorabilia entrusted to the institution. The main goal of the Museum operating in this new location is to fulfil Kantor’s will. The core activity of the Museum consists in storing, conserving and displaying several hundred objects and costumes linked with Cricot 2 Theatre performances, theoretical writings, drawings and designs, video recordings, photographic records, as well as several thousands reviews in multiple languages, books and magazines – the legacy of Kantor and his ensemble’s many journeys over the years. The collection is continually expanded and subject to academic research.
The Museum does not stop at storing Kantor’s material works; in addition, it engages with his ideas. Apart from collecting and researching exhibits, their preservation, conservation and display, its functions include developing and sustaining thoughts and ideas of Cricoteka’s founder. In consequence, the Museum collection comprises not only physical objects, but also – or rather predominantly – intangible heritage. Apart from conserving museum items, guarding the collection implies supporting its fragile intellectual tissue, its constant updating and processing. This is achieved through entering into dialogue with the newest artistic currents, especially in the area of visual and performing arts. The Tadeusz Kantor Museum is the only public museum institution in Poland dedicated to preserving and promoting the oeuvre of one of the leading Polish 20th-century artists, whose output earned him international recognition. It is also a centre for experts specialising in Kantor’s life and work, as well as its cultural context.
The Museum’s collection development strategy consists in storing divergent artefacts and archival materials as well as publications linked with Kantor’s life and art. Presently, the collection encompasses objects, costumes and stage props from Cricot 2 Theatre performances, as well as Kantor’s autonomous sculptures linked with his works of theatre; drawings and sketches; paintings; manuscripts and original typed scripts; letters; photographic, audio-visual and audio records; documents, prints, library materials, reviews, souvenirs and elements of Kantor’s interior designs. The structure of the collection, initiated by Kantor himself, includes also archival and library materials pertaining to the sources of his art and its cultural context, with which his art engaged in a constant dialogue. The Museum stores also works by artists who identify themselves with Kantor’s concepts or use them as a source of inspiration.
The Museum is divided into two main departments: the archive and the division dedicated to theatre and visual arts.
The Division of Tadeusz Kantor’s Archive and Library Collection
The Department of Collections and Exhibitions
Tadeusz Kantor’s Gallery-Studio
An important part of the collection is stored in Tadeusz Kantor’s Gallery-Studio in 7/5 Sienna St. It is here that Kantor created his final works in 1987–1990. The original furnishings of Kantor’s room have been preserved, and a gallery was subsequently added, according to the artist’s wishes. Tadeusz Kantor’s last home and workplace has been preserved intact. It has been opened to the public since 1995, according to Kantor’s wishes.
II. The Division of Tadeusz Kantor’s Archive and Library Collection
The archive is the oldest part of Cricoteka; it has remained in operation from its foundation in 1980. Tadeusz Kantor’s intentions were for the Cricot 2 Theatre Archive to serve as a ‘MUSEUM AND ACADEMIC INSTITUTE’, thus providing a symbolic core of Cricoteka’s functioning. It is a repository of memory of the institution safeguarding a variety items linked to Kantor’s entire oeuvre. The archive initiates and supports activities aimed at keeping Kantor’s heritage alive in the current flow of ideas; it responds to academic inquiries and provides assistance in terms of archive research.
The Archive Reading Room is available Monday through Friday, 8.00 a.m.–4 p.m.
The archive materials can be accessed on the spot, in the Reading Room during its opening hours; inquiries can also be made by e-mail.
No special documents or permissions are required to access the resources.
Users are required to contact the Archive by phone or e-mail in advance of their visit, so that the staff can prepare the required materials.
The inventory of Tadeusz Kantor Archive includes the following departments:
Dept 1. Tadeusz Kantor’s writings, sketches, notes and original typescripts,
Dept 2. Prints (theatre programmes, exhibition catalogues, festival catalogues, leaflets, manifestos, posters, books),
Dept 3. Reviews and articles (e.g. performance reviews, interviews with Tadeusz Kantor, articles by Tadeusz Kantor, articles on Kantor, press clippings by GLOB agency),
Dept 4. Audio-visual materials (photographs, film archive, sound archive),
Dept 5. Varia.
III. The Division of Collections and Exibitions
The Division of Collections and exhibitions safeguards the complete collection of theatre costumes, objects and props linked with theatre performances, as well as artworks by Tadeusz Kantor, including a collection of his drawings. The artist wished to preserve objects linked with theatre performances of outstanding artistic value. With this purpose in mind, in 1984 he formed a special commission, which confirmed the artwork status of 24 key artefacts used in Cricot 2 Theatre performances. This gesture laid the foundations of Cricoteka’s collection.
The Division of Collections and Exhibitions includes the following departments:
Dept 6. Costumes,
Dept 7. Objects, stage props,
Dept 8. Artworks,
Dept 9. Furniture, elements of interior design of museum value,
The Division loans items from Tadeusz Kantor Museum collection, according to the Guidelines.