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The “trumpet” was an object — a prop of the Rabbi character (played by Zbigniew Gostomski) and his Pupil (Dominika Michalczuk). The natural-sized tin trumpet was covered with a black material, a kind of casing whose end on the cup side dropped loosely falling into the metal bucket. The trumpet was hung on a metal frame structure (nearly 3.5 metres high) where a system of blocks and transmissions was installed with steel links enabling it to be raised and dropped by a crank handle.

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The Trumpet of the Last Judgement is an exhibit from TadeuszKantor's cricotage, Gdzie są niegdysiejsze śniegi (WhereAre Last Year's Snows?) (The title originated from the Balladof the Ladies of Times Past from Villon's Grand Testament).The premiere took place for the great exhibition of Cricot 2 Theatre artists and the “Polish Avant-garde, 1910–1978” exhibition in Palazzo delle Espozisioni in Rome in January 1979. Back then it was performed in Paris (November 1982–12 times), London (November/December 1982–12 times), Geneva (September 1983 — 6 times) and Warsaw (May 1984–8 times).in January 1979 in the Palazzo delleEspozisioni in Rome. In the years 1982–1983 Kantor changed thestructure of the exhibit (the first version from 1979 involved anemballaged trumpet placed on a mobile tripod) in a way that itstarted to look like a scaffold, gallows, or some kind of a medievalmachine.
The “trumpet” was an object — a prop of the Rabbi character (played by Zbigniew Gostomski) and his Pupil (Dominika Michalczuk). The natural-sized tin trumpet was covered with a black material, a kind of casing whose end on the cup side dropped loosely falling into the metal bucket. The trumpet was hung on a metal frame structure (nearly 3.5 metres high) where a system of blocks and transmissions was installed with steel links enabling it to be raised and dropped by a crank handle. The whole structure was placed on four metal wheels forming a kind of cart with a shaft. All this was supplemented with two black banners attached to the rack.
Composed of thirteen sequences, Gdzie są niegdysiejsze śniegi (Where Are Last Year's Snows?) was created after Umarła klasa (The Dead Class) and before Wielopole, Wielopole, and lasted about 30 minutes. The audience sat on both sides of the room. The actors, who were dressed in white paper clothes (with the exception of the Rabbi and his Pupil), acted in the middle, in the space limited, on the one side by the human skeleton and on the other side by the monstrous instrument from The Trumpet of the Last Judgement. A rope was stretched through the entire length of the room, and the actors played on both sides. At one point the Rabbi and his Pupil were dragging the trumpet of the Last Judgement along the room to the melody of the anthem from the Jewish ghetto.
Tadeusz Kantor wrote:
The Trumpet of Jericho, a very strange object. It is neither an instrument – the trumpet (it was used to sound the tragic Anthem of the Jewish Ghetto) nor a siege engine by the walls of Jericho — a circus cart pushed by the desperate Rabbi who covered the sacred trumpet, a mourning “emballage” – the bag from which the sounds fell into a tin bucket.
During his holiday trips to the seaside, Tadeusz Kantor frequently wandered into the port. As recalled by Andrzej Wełmiński, “There were always some fishing boats with long poles sticking out and flags fluttering at their ends. They were the so-called merki emblems. (...) In (...) the Trumpet of the Last Judgement the flags similar to the mourning flags were attached to long, swaying poles, and perfectly repeated the movement of buoys on the waves.”[1]
“The TRUMPET itself, together with the hanging
EMBALLAGE OF SOUNDS, comes from the performance at the CRICOT 2 Theatre,
“THE WATER-HEN”, 1967 (Tzadik’s Trumpet).
The whole structure on wheels,
with the scaffolding that enables the trumpet to be lowered and raised;
movable mourning banners;
and a bucket of water that hits the board below
with every push of the lever,
was completed for the Gdzie są niegdysiejsze śniegi (Where Are Last Year's Snows?) performance
at the Cricot 2 Theatre Centre.
Inside the trumpet there is a small loudspeaker
with the melody of the ANTHEM FROM THE JEWISH GHETTO (...).
It is a MUSIC MOBILE.”[2]
/T. Kantor/

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


[1] A. Wełmiński, Ludzie wyjedzeni przez piasek, szałerki, [in:] Tadeusz Kantor nad morzem, ed. J. Chrobak, J. Michalik, Gdynia 2009, p. 9;
[2] T. Kantor [in:] T. Kantor, Pisma, Vol. 3: Dalej już nic. Teksty z lat 1985–1990, elab. K. Pleśniarowicz, Wrocław-Kraków 2005, p. 441.

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Cricotage by Tadeusz Kantor

What is cricotage? Kantor wrote: “Cricotage is not a happening; it means that it does not have an ‘open form’ capable of being receptive to the audience’s participation“.
Cricotage is not identical to performance art while it is understood as an act in space using the performer’s body, yet

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What is cricotage?
Kantor wrote: “Cricotage is not a happening; it means that it does not have an ‘open form’ capable of being receptive to the audience’s participation“.
Cricotage is not identical to performance art while it is understood as an act in space using the performer’s body, yet

“it does not renounce emotional states and strong tension. Cricotage deals with REALITY
liberated from any «plot».
Its fragments, relics and traces,
freed from IMAGINATION,
being an affront to any conventions and common sense,
are linked
to such a degree of endurance,
they may be torn apart and disintegrated
at any moment.
This impression of
danger
and constantly threatening
disaster
is an important feature of Cricotage“.

What did the idea look like in practice? The first cricotage took place at the Society of Fine Arts in Warsaw in 1965. In the cafe area, Kantor’s friends performed simple daily activities for an hour. They ate, sat, shaved and carried coal. Despite terminological divisions introduced by the author of Cricot 2, many theatre theorists consider this date as the beginning of happenings in Poland. A developing field of experiments with form, which straddled the border between life and art, resulted in further projects, including the most well known Panoramic Marine Happening. During this performance Kantor became the conductor of a show of nature while standing on a chair facing the sea.
Apart from the action of 1965, Kantor himself defined the following performances as cricotage: Gdzie są niegdysiejsze śniegi [Where Is Last Years Snow] the title of which was taken from Ballad of the Ladies of Times Past by Francois Villon, Ślub [The Wedding] of 1986, Maszyna miłości i śmierci [Machine of Love and Death] of 1987, Bardzo krótka lekcja [A Very Short Lesson], and Cicha noc [The Silent Night] – performed in Avignon in 1990.

Elaborated by Anna Berestecka (Editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums),
Licencja Creative Commons

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

See “The Trumpet of the Last Judgement” (“Where Are Last Year’s Snows”, 1979)

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“The Trumpet of the Last Judgement” (“Where Are Last Year’s Snows”, 1979)

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