What I was doing then resembled a fairly middle-of-the-road
painting. But the resemblances were apparent. More important
was what I “could not” do. For example, I would paint
“People sitting at a table”. Yet I would not have
a tablecloth and fruit on the table for the world. Flowers were out
of question. There was not repast. The tables were empty. Under the growing
layers of substantial paint the figures were getting more and more like cardboard
mounts. Colour turned into ashes. There was no air
but a hard, dry MATTER which
slowly engulfed everything. No “joi de vivre”.
No support from abstract calculations, either.
I thought it argued lack of skill, and I was in anguish.
Now I believe that there was a great deal of “necessity” in it
and that the recalcitrant MATTER expressed something that
defied both purist abstraction and sensualist colour.
I could not give up the representation of the human figure.
Its presence was important and indispensable. No doubt I could see
beyond it a place and a reality I was very much concerned about.
I sensed that a sphere extending beyond the form
and the material surface of the painting was a necessity.
Tadeusz Kantor, “Intimate Comments”, 1986-88, typescript in the Cricoteka Archives, p. 2.