The project entitled “Who Inspires Us? Tadeusz Kantor!” is aimed at showcasing Tadeusz Kantor’s work in the context of contemporary art – theatre, visual arts and music. The project, implemented in several stages throughout 2013 and 2014, will consist of exhibitions, performance art and publications.
2013 will see the presentation of two out of the three planned exhibitions and two performative events. Cricoteka will also publish three publications devoted to the life and work of Tadeusz Kantor.
In 2013, the project will start with the exhibition “Tadeusz Kantor and Wielopole Skrzyńskie” and end with a display “Jewish Themes in Tadeusz Kantor’s Art”. The third exhibition in this series, planned for 2014, will be entitled “Tango and Tadeusz Kantor’s Theatre” and will focus on musical themes in Kantor’s art. All the exhibitions will be held in Tadeusz Kantor’s Gallery/Atelier at no. 7 Sienna Street apt. 5 in Krakow.
1. Exhibition “Tadeusz Kantor and Wielopole Skrzyńskie” (2013)
Wielopole Skrzyńskie, where the artist was born and where he lived, was a Polish-Jewish town in the south of Poland – „on the one hand there was the church, the rectory and the cemetery and on the other we had the synagogue, some narrow Jewish streets (…). Both sides lived in symbiosis” – Kantor wrote about Wielopole. While presenting the history of the artist’s family and its relationship with Wielopole Skrzyńskie, the exhibition will also demonstrate the enormous impact that the childhood spent in Wielopole had on the work of Tadeusz Kantor. The exhibition is dedicated to the memory of Stanisław Berger (Uncle Stasio – Deportee from the performance “Wielopole, Wielopole”), who was the brother of the artist’s mother – Helena Kantor, and of Mira Rychlicka, an actress of the Cricot 2 Theatre (widow of the local photographer from the performance “Wielopole, Wielopole”). The exhibition will present a selection of documents and archival materials related to the Kantor and Berger families, photos and footage as well as Tadeusz Kantor’s work.
Curator: Józef Chrobak
2. Exhibition “Jewish Motifs in the Work of Tadeusz Kantor” (2013)
The first exhibition of this kind, which will focus on very important motifs and themes that appear in Tadeusz Kantor’s theatre work, e.g. in the performance “The Dead Class”, “Wielopole, Wielopole” and in the cricotage “Where Are the Snows of Yesteryear”. The exhibition will present theatrical objects from selected performances from the Cricoteka’s collection, Tadeusz Kantor’s drawings, selected photographs and some footage, most of which has never been shown before.
Curator: Józef Chrobak
3. Exhibition “Tango and Tadeusz Kantor’s Theatre” (2014)
This will be the first exhibition in the forthcoming series “Music in Tadeusz Kantor’s Theatre”. Music has always played a significant role in this artist’s performances. It was one of the important components of these productions,
and the tango theme was one of the most widely used and employed musical themes. It appears, among others, in the performances “The Water Hen”, “Let the Artists Die” and in the cricotage “Where Are the Snows of Yesteryear”. The exhibition will present prototypes of recordings used by Tadeusz Kantor and the way they functioned in the context of individual performances. A separate part of the exhibition will demonstrate some unknown materials related to Tadeusz Kantor’s stay in Argentina in the 1980s.
Curator: Józef Chrobak
1. “Polyphonies” (21-24 November 2013)
Unusual sounds and music-based performance art will be brought forth in a series of concerts entitled „Polyphonies”. The artists invited to take part are strongly associated with Krakow and refer to the avant-garde heritage of the city. Experiments, improvisation, new technologies but also well-arranged sound on the stage and the acoustic potential of the surroundings will fill the series of six events. Performance artists, musicians and dancers include: Keir Neuringer and Rafał Mazur, Denis Kolokol, Tomasz Chołoniewski and Ernest Ogórek, Sergej Maingardt and Magdalena Przybysz.
The implementation of this part of the project is planned for November 2013 in the Museum of Municipal Engineering in Krakow.
Project curator: Anna Szwajgier
2. “The Choreographic Machine” (22-24 November 2013)
The project constitutes an innovative reference to Tadeusz Kantor’s art through choreography and contemporary dance. This perspective will reveal previously unknown contexts and enable new interpretations. Choreographic art in Poland is undergoing several redefinitions and is becoming more and more popular. If we agree that what links the Theatre of Death to contemporary choreography is the interest in the body in its various aspects, the parallels between these areas of art become more noticeable.
The most natural understanding of the body in the context of Kantor’s works is treating it as raw material, a form that can be shaped by a painter, but also by a dancer or choreographer. Also, one cannot forget about the carnality in the context of subjective existence, strongly associated with the existential sensation of death and experiencing the world.
Following this line of thought, the first instalment of the dance programme entitled “The Choreographic Machine” presents artists who in their stage practice present a study on carnality. At times, they observe their emotions, which – as if in a mirror – are reflected in the body through various codes of behaviour, and at other times they engage in themes associated with the decay of the body.
In the first instalment of the programme this year, we will see young Polish choreographers and dancers, including: Tomasz Bazan, Joanna Leśnierowska and Janusz Orlik, Karol Tymiński. The second instalment, planned for 2014, will offer performances by Ann Van den Broek and Martin Nachbar. The performative programme will be supplemented by the publication of Pokolenie solo [Generation Solo] and a panel discussion “Performer – authentic movement and stage practice”. Generation Solo is a series of twenty-five interviews with young Polish choreographers, arranged as a generation narrative. The panel “Performer – Authentic Movement and Stage Practice” is a discussion on the ways of directing the body by the performers in choreographic and theatre practice. The starting point will be a popular method of using everyday movement, not subjected to technical modifications. The creators of contemporary theatre and dance are increasingly interested in using the audience and amateur participation in their performances – this practice was also present in the work of Tadeusz Kantor. What meanings stem from resignation from traditionally understood acting skills – and are we really dealing with the act of resignation? What does authenticity mean in a performer’s practice today? Can the presence of amateurs and everyday movement, which does not belong within the framework of any dance technique, be the guarantor? What are the strategies for directing the body in dance and theatre?
This part of the project is planned for November 2013 at the Museum of Municipal Engineering in Krakow.
Project curator: Anna Królica
2014 will see the subsequent instalments of the project.
The first one – “Anatomical Theatre” – will be focused on the happening “Anatomy Lesson According to Rembrandt”, one of the most important and inspiring works by Tadeusz Kantor. Rembrandt’s painting “Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp” depicts an autopsy carried out by the title Dr. Tulp in the presence of witnesses. Universally regarded as a masterpiece, the painting inspired many artists: painters, writers, performers, directors. Throughout the two-month series of events, Kantor’s happening will undergo a thorough analysis and will be placed in a broad context: historical (a lecture about the history of anatomical theatres), contemporary (the art of Joseph Beuys, literary and theatrical interpretations of the theme) and current one (accomplishments of artists who in many ways enter into dialogue with Kantor: creators from the field of visual arts such as Katarzyna Kozyra, Zbigniew Libera, Grzegorz Klaman as well as directors and performers – Barbara Wysocka, Michał Zadara , Wojtek Ziemilski, Christoph Schlingensief). The purpose of the programme is to present how Kantor, interpreting the famous painting, became part of a long line of artists using autopsy as an artistic theme, and at the same time inspired the next generations to enter into a dialogue with him.
Project curator: Dr Anna R. Burzyńska
In the next instalment, entitled “Biography in Theatre: Philosophy and Object”, we would like to take a look at biographical strategies in drama and theatre and more specifically at a variety of methods concerning modelling and demodelling of biographical aspects in different genres and materials at the junction of text, image, memory, physical activity and material presence. We will try to demonstrate that biography is a project, a drama, forming oneself in one’s own image and after the likeness of one’s own thoughts. Thus life, work and biography appear as three aspects of the same phenomenon. Therefore, biography falls within the area of historical cognition as a thirst for knowledge and understanding and the area of activity as a promise of offering the truth to others. The characters that will be discussed during the project are: Handke, Wassermann and Herzog’s Kaspar Hauser, Loher’s Bluebeard, Mishima’s Sade and Weiss and Brook’s Marat/Sade, Antigone (Sophocles/Gavran), Judas (Rostworowski/Iredyński) and Przybyszewska’s Robespierre. The program will consist of lectures, screenings of performances and films. At the end there will be a discussion around the topic “Biography through an Object in the Theatre and Texts of Tadeusz Kantor”.
Project curator: Dr Łucja Iwanczewska
As part of the project “Who Inspires Us? Tadeusz Kantor!” Cricoteka will publish three books which constitute a compendium containing chronologies systematising Tadeusz Kantor’s work since the 1940s and revealing new facts concerning his work.
1. Tadeusz Kantor. The Last Decade / 1980-1990
The main and fundamental part of the publication will be the chronology covering the last ten years of Tadeusz Kantor’s life and work – starting with the exhibition entitled “Ideas of the Cricot 2 Theatre” (19 January 1980), which inaugurated the Krakow Centre of the Cricot 2 Theatre, until the artists’ death on 8 December 1990. The successive dates include materials regarding the tours of the Cricot 2 Theatre and Tadeusz Kantor’s travels, facts associated with the development of his performances and information on festivals, exhibitions as well as various events and activities in which the artist was involved.
For Kantor, the 1980s is the time of formation of Cricoteka – the “Living Archive” of his work that will help the ideas of the artist survive in the minds and imagination of the next generations. The inside story of the Centre origins, the early years of its activity and the people associated with it are present throughout the entire publication.
Editors: Józef Chrobak, Justyna Michalik
2. Tadeusz Kantor and the years 1959-1964
This publication will cover the period of Tadeusz Kantor’s art from 1959 to 1964. It was a very intense time of the artist’s numerous travels as well as solo and group exhibitions, also abroad. During this period Kantor produces two performances with the Cricot 2 Theatre – “The Country House” (1961), which embodies the idea of Informel Theatre and “The Madman and the Nun” (1963), which expresses the idea of Zero Theatre. The concepts, themes, ideas and stage solutions which originated during the work on these two productions will play an extremely important role in the most famous and most distinctive period in Kantor’s art – the Theatre of Death.
The publication is accompanied by a chronology entitled “Attention!… Painting” and Other Films. 1956-1959 which gathers information on Polish avant-garde films of the late 1950s, such as Somnambulicy [Somnambulists] (directed by M. Waśkowski), Kineformy [Cineforms] (directed by A. Pawłowski),Tam i Tu [Here and There (directed by A . Pawłowski), and finally Attention! … Painting. Tadeusz Kantor Paints directed by M. Waśkowski.
Editors: Józef Chrobak, Justyna Michalik
3. Tadeusz Kantor and the 1940s
The publication will cover the post-war years in the life and work of Tadeusz Kantor. It will include information regarding the artist’s cooperation with official theatres in Poland, as part of which he prepared set designs for performances staged therein. The ideas and solutions for set designs which he applied and developed in his later activities with the Cricot 2 Theatre frequently had their origin in these projects.
Editors: Józef Chrobak, Justyna Michalik
Project subsidized by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.
Media patron: TVP Kultura, TVP Kraków, Dwójka Polskie Radio, Radio Kraków, e-teatr.pl.