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The presented exhibit comes from the Qui non ci torno più [I Shall Never Return] play at the Cricot 2 Theatre created in Kraków and Milan in the years 1987–1988. The play’s premiere took place on 23 June 1988 at the Piccolo Teatro Studio in Milan. The plot of the play takes place in a tavern. There are metal tavern tables and stools on the stage. In the background a wall of smooth black cloth is set up in a semi-circle with the barely visible contours of four doors.

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The presented exhibit comes from the Qui non ci torno più [I Shall Never Return] play at the Cricot 2 Theatre created in Kraków and Milan in the years 1987–1988. The play’s premiere took place on 23 June 1988 at the Piccolo Teatro Studio in Milan.
The plot of the play takes place in a tavern. There are metal tavern tables and stools on the stage. In the background a wall of smooth black cloth is set up in a semi-circle with the barely visible contours of four doors. Through these doors the selected figures from Kantor’s previous plays, starting from Powrót Odysa [Return of Odysseus] produced in 1944 in the Clandestine Independent Theatre, to the last, Niech sczezną artyści [Let the Artists Die] play (1985), rhythmically enter and exit the stage (to return in a moment). The “phantoms of the past” carry objects from previous performances onto the stage, shouting the lines out of context (see: Boat of Charon from Nigdy tu już nie powrócę [ I Shall Never Return].
What is interesting is that nearly all of the objects in the performance are reconstructions of objects well-known from previous performances. These objects include the Sink.
It first appeared in the Niech sczezną artyści [Let the Artists Die] play at the Cricot 2 Theatre (1985). In the first rehearsals the “Scullery Maid” washed the dishes in a bowl. Since this made too much noise, the artist designed a sink to which water trickled from the tap. The new version is very similar to the prototype. Kantor wrote about this object in the context of its functioning in Niech sczezną artyści [Let the Artists Die]:
“It is an object from the category stemming from my/ idea of the ‘Reality of the Lowest Rank.’ / It will be used for happening activities, that is/ removed and isolated from life’s reality,/ the most common and prosaic,/ repeated endlessly, and thus deprived/ of life’s effectiveness (because “effectiveness” — la finalité — is/ this punch-line of utilitarianism that is the contradiction of art). / What is peculiar about this object is the closed water flow/ and, consequently, possibility to travel and move. / A kind of Movable Waterpipe.”[1]
The installation of an electrical pump in these objects enabled the water to be poured through the pipe with a tap finished with a funnel right to the sink. This object is one of many objects that, through their banality and everyday character of assigned activity (here: pouring water), illustrate the “reality of the lowest rank” in art and, at the same time, paradoxically are the works of art that cross the boundaries set by the rigours of discipline and conventions of aesthetics.
Going back to the design of the object, please note that the sink in Nigdy tu już nie powrócę [I Shall Never Return] was made entirely of galvanised metal sheet (several pieces soldered at the connection points), while the sink from Niech sczezną artyści [Let the Artists Die] is additionally covered with old wood boards. Both objects are placed on wooden platforms on wheels.

Elaborated by Małgorzata Paluch-Cybulska (The Cricoteka Centre for the Documentation of the Art of Tadeusz Kantor), © all rights reserved


[1] T. Kantor, Pisma, Vol. III: Dalej już nic. Teksty z lat 1985–1990, elab. K. Pleśniarowicz, Wrocław–Kraków 2004–2005, p. 441.

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“Sink” (“I Shall Never Return”, 1988)

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