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Tadeusz Kantor’s sculpture expressing the idea from the Cricot 2 play of W małym dworku (Country House), based on S.I. Witkiewicz’s play under the same title. The premiere took place in Kraków in the Krzysztofory Gallery on 14 January 1961. This was the Informel Theatre stage of the artist’s works.

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Tadeusz Kantor’s sculpture expressing the idea from the Cricot 2 play of W małym dworku (Country House), based on S.I. Witkiewicz’s play under the same title. The premiere took place in Kraków in the Krzysztofory Gallery on 14 January 1961. This was the Informel Theatre stage of the artist’s works.
It is a two-wing wooden wardrobe (more than 2 metres high) on a pedestal with a mannequin in a black uniform and a hat hanging on the hanger. It was created in the first half of the 1980s.
In the Kraków production of W małym dworku (Country House), Kantor limited himself to just a few stage design items. The drawing room of the title house was replaced with an old mouldy wardrobe covered with lichen, which is the central place of acting. There was also an authentic rubbish cart and a chest where the Phantom sat.
Tadeusz Kantor wrote: “I discovered a new theatrical PLACE ... a WARDROBE. (Children discovered it much earlier). “I named this wardrobe the INTERIOR OF IMAGINATION.”
The wardrobe was a shared space for four figures: Dyapanazy Nibek, the husband betrayed by Anastazja; his two rivals — Ignacy Kozdroń, an economist and Anastazja's actual lover, and Poet Jęzor Pasiukowski, who lived in the sphere of dreams about erotic conquests; and Governess Aneta, who was to take care of Anastazja and Dyapanazy's daughters after their mother's death.
Crowded in the wardrobe, the actors were in constant movement, swirling, shouting while delivering their enigmatic dialogues. They had to fight with each other and with the chaos of rags filling this piece of furniture. Kantor treated the word, movement and costume as a shapeless mass similar to the painting matter of his Informel paintings from the late 1950s.
Before the performance, Marta Stebnicka had her small recital during which she performed several songs from Witkacy’s times, e.g., Ballad of Miss Eufrozyna and Six Bandits, I am a Peruvian Woman, Little Husband, My Lover is a Bandit, Don Juan of Fin de Siècle and What Happened to It? (Where Did It Go? Where Is It?).
The sound setting for the Kraków production of W małym dworku (Country House) was composed by Adam Kaczyński (1933-2010), pianist, composer and promoter of contemporary music who worked with the Cricot 2 Theatre for many years.
The principles of the Informel Theatre were depicted more precisely in two later productions of W małym dworku (Country House), performed in different conditions and with actors from outside of Cricot (with the exception of Maria Stangret). These were the Der Schrank (Wardrobe) performances in Stadttheater in Baden-Baden in 1966 and the Säcke, Schrank und Schirm (Sacks, Wardrobe and Umbrella) film directed by Dietrich Mahlow and shot in the summer of 1969 in Yugoslavia. These productions show the evolution of stage solutions used by Kantor that originated in the first Cricot 2 Theatre performance in Krzysztofory.
In Der Schrank, the wardrobe was enriched with additional attributes determining the actors’ performance in the form of hangers on which they swirled, bumped into each other and hanged inertly. The entangled rags that had filled it earlier were replaced with several dozen stuffed sacks.
The action from the third version of W małym dworku (Country House) took place in the historical courtyard in Bled. The stage space, marked out with well-known objects from previous productions, like the wardrobe, was filled with a pile of stuffed sacks.
Made of raw wood, the wardrobe was much bigger than in previous productions. The application of hangers reminiscent of long braces on which the actors hanged with their heads nearly pushed into their shoulders gave the effect of a claustrophobic space.
The first screening of Mahlow’s film, Säcke, Schrank und Schirm (Sacks, Wardrobe and Umbrella), about Kantor and his theatrical ideas took place 3 years after the completion of shooting in 1972. Its main protagonist and proper author of the recorded scenes first saw the film produced by German television only at the end of his life, in 1989. In one of the interviews he recollected: “Despite the fact that the film is poor, it is one of... the best documentaries on my Cricot activities.”[1]
The music to the Säcke, Schrank und Schirm (Sacks, Wardrobe and Umbrella) film was written by Heinrich Konietzny (1910–1983), a composer who worked with Saarbrücken radio for many years, and a pupil of Paul Hindemith.

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


[1] Jak Kantor inscenizuje kino, wywiad Władysława Cybulskiego z Tadeuszem Kantorem, [in:] Film, no. 47 (1990); after: Umarła klasaSeans Tadeusza Kantora 1975-1979, Cricoteka, ed. J. Chrobak, J. Michalik, Kraków 2011, p. 69.

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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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“Wardrobe — Interior of Imagination” (“Country House”, 1961), reconstructed in 1981

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