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The Children in a rubbish cart exhibit was designed by Tadeusz Kantor and executed in the 1st half of the 1980s drawing upon the idea of the Informel Theatre and the Cricot 2 Theatre performance, W małym dworku [Country House], whose premiere was staged in Kraków in the Krzysztofory Gallery on 14 January 1961 (see “Wardrobe — Interior of Imagination”).

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The Children in a rubbish cart exhibit was designed by Tadeusz Kantor and executed in the 1st half of the 1980s drawing upon the idea of the Informel Theatre and the Cricot 2 Theatre performance, W małym dworku [Country House], whose premiere was staged in Kraków in the Krzysztofory Gallery on 14 January 1961 (see “Wardrobe — Interior of Imagination”).
This exhibit (145 cm high) consists of a metal cart with a special structure — an electrical engine installed inside. The whole mechanism is covered with a latex cover with holes through which two mannequin children’s heads and pairs of hands stick out. When the engine is connected to a power source, the heads and hands (also made of latex) move. Kantor took great care to carefully develop the pace and scope of movement of the hands.
In the Kraków performance, the rubbish cart was rented from the Municipal Street Cleaning Company (MPO). There were two actors on the cart — Zosia and Amelka Nibekówna. They summoned the ghost of the Mother and maliciously commented on the course of events. They were played by Maria Stangret and Stenia Górniak. 
Der Schrank, a 1966 German production directed by Tadeusz Kantor and performed by German actors, was shown at the Informel Theatre. From the cart one could hear Polish-German comments by Orphans of different sex (Maria Stangret’s twin partner was Hans-Peter Schnicke). The material covering the children right up to their necks enabled them to only make small movements of the head and hands. As one Die Welt reviewer wrote (12 March 1966), Between the spectators and around the decoratively torn umbrella a clown in a top hat swept the streets and carried two small children in his rubbish cart wrapped up in pink plastic, while a dog barked and bells rang. Then he took an old woman out from the wardrobe; it resembled a huge chest and represented a farm. He pushed the old woman into an excessively large meat mincer and, delighted in it, turning the gritting crank handle until the woman reappeared from the bottom drawer of the machine as a Phantom.”
In the next production of Kantor’s play of W małym dworku [Country House] and then Säcke, Schrank und Schirm film [Sacks, Wardrobe and Umbrella], the rubbish cart was fundamentally simplified. The empty object shown in the opening sequences (without the performing actresses) hardly shows any resemblance to the original: it is a simple wooden platform with a stool. The white sheets covering Amelka and Zosia (played here by Maria Stangret and Bella Broner) are tied right up to their necks and do not even allow their hand movements to be visible.
Similar work (currently missing) was completed in 1969, and presented by Kantor under the title, Children in a rubbish cart from the W małym dworku [Country House] play at the “Peinture Moderne Polonaise. Sources et Recherches” exhibition (“Polish Modern Painting — Sources and Research) in Paris in April 1969.
The original cart for the orphans from the play, W małym dworku [Country House] (1961), was displayed at the “Popular Exhibition” of Tadeusz Kantor in the Krzysztofory Gallery in Kraków in 1963. Then the cart went missing or was returned to the Kraków MPO.
The exhibit from the Cricoteka collection that can be seen in the collection from Małopolska’s Virtual Museums is a reconstruction.

Elaborated by Józef Chrobak, Justyna Michalik (The Cricoteka Centre for the Documentation of the Art of Tadeusz Kantor), © all rights reserved

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Kantor’s wardrobe

The wardrobe, which appeared in many of Kantor’s performances, was a specific object.
It served as a catalyst for many human affairs and secrets.

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The wardrobe, which appeared in many of Kantor’s performances, was a specific object.
It served as a catalyst for many human affairs and secrets. In the staging Country House, it set the boundaries of the entire stage space (with the actors crowded inside it to perform).
For Kantor, a wardrobe that is closed cuts itself off but also becomes more meaningful. While open, it reveals its insides and reveals dark secrets.

Elaborated by Editorial team of Małopolskas Virtual Museums,
Licencja Creative Commons

 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.

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“The Rubbish Cart” (“In a Little Manor House”, 1961)

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