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“Children at their desk” (“The Dead Class”, 1989)

Children at their deskfrom Umarła klasa [The Dead Class] is an art work (installation) by Tadeusz Kantor created in the spring of 1989 in the Cricoteka facilities on Kanonicza Street. It is one of several examples of works by this artist, drawing upon the idea of the Umarła klasa [The Dead Class] performance (version of A boy at his desk from The Dead Class, School Class — Closed Work, various kinds of drawings, sketches and paintings from the years 1975–1990) that was specially prepared for the future Museum of the Cricot 2 Theatre.

“Self-portrait” (“Today Is My Birthday”, 1990)

The presented object was created for a performance of Cricot 2 Theatre, Today is my birthday, on which the artist worked from October 1989 to early December 1990. Tadeusz Kantor died after one of the last rehearsals, on 8 December 1990. The premiere took place shortly after in January 1991 at Théâtre Garonne in Toulouse; then the show was shown in 22 cities around the world until June 1992.

Toy “Lajkonik’s march” by Jan Oprocha (father)

A toy cart, or actually a platform on wheels with holes to thread a pulling cord through and 31 figurines arranged on it, rocking while the toy is pulled. The whole toy, including the platform and the figurines, is made of polychrome wood. The rectangular platform with its bevelled corners and wheels are painted green. The edges are coated with white, yellow and pink paint, and the spokes are marked with yellow, blue and red.

“Young couple” (“I Shall Never Return”, 1988)

Young Couple is an object of spectacle Cricot 2 Qui non ci torno più (I Shall Never return), which was created in Kraków and Milan in 1987–1988. The premiere took place on 23 June 1988 at the Piccolo Teatro Studio in Milan. The play I Shall Never return is a summary of previous work of Tadeusz Kantor's theater.

Tube gramophone

The mechanism of the gramophone is placed in a box made of oak wood in a natural colour. The casing is modestly decorated with simple mills, the front wall bears a metal brass secession plate depicting the muse, Erato.

“Tank” (“Today Is My Birthday”, 1990)

Presented object was made for the play Today is my birthday Cricot 2 Theater, over which the artist worked from October 1989 to early December 1990. Tadeusz Kantor died after one of the last rehearsals, 8 of December 1990 year. The premiere took place shortly afterwards, in January 1991 at the Théâtre Garonne in Toulouse, then the play was shown in 22 cities around the world until June 1992.

“Infanta’s Portrait” (“Today is My Birthday”, 1990)

Infanta’s Portrait was one of the elements of the “Poor Room of Imagination”, arranged on the stage by Tadeusz Kantor (see The artist’s table). It was on the right side of the stage, next to the artist’s table. The Infanta’s presence in the painting is based on rhythmic departures and returns. As Kantor wrote, “standing or sitting in the frame, she poses herself in the painting and presents/ all her charms, or moves outside of the frame for various reasons: she is thrown, falls out or leaves herself. This ‘outside’ and ‘inside’ somehow sets the rhythm of her functioning in the performance.”

“Pillories of characters” (“Let the Artists Die”, 1985)

The “pillories” are extremely characteristic objects from the Niech sczezną artyści [Let the Artists Die] play at the Cricot 2 Theatre. The play had its premiere in Alte Giesserei in Nürnberg on 2 June 1985. The “pillories” appear in act III of the play and become the key objects with which the later stage plot, right to the epilogue in act V, is associated.

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

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.

“Goplana and Elfs” (“Balladyna”, 1943)

Goplana and the Elves is a reconstruction of the object from the performance Balladyna, performed in Kraków in 1943 by Tadeusz Kantor and a group of the artists from Kraków, in the Underground Independent Theatre. No objects survived from this period. As well as Balladyna by Juliusz Słowacki, Kantor also directed Return of Odysseus by Wyspiański in 1944...

The Marconi radio set — 4-LS/I model (serial number 7163)

The Marconi radio set is a high quality luxury battery-operated radio set produced by Polskie Zakłady Marconi S.A. This Warsaw branch of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company Ltd. London, the company established by the undisputed inventor of radiophony, Guglielmo Marconi, was established in 1928.

Two armchairs, the “Ład” Artists Cooperative

In 1918, the Szymanowski family lost the family manor in Tymoszówka, Russia. Karol Szymanowski lived in hotels, boarding houses, and with his family ever since. At the furnished Atma Villa rented in Zakopane, the composer lived between 1930 and 1935. Two armchairs made by the Ład Artists Cooperative are the only pieces of furniture to have ever been bought by Szymanowski to furnish the Atma Villa.

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

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”).

Nativity Scene by Franciszek Zięba

This puppet nativity scene made by the carpenter Franciszek Zięba in 1935 is the first exhibit donated to the Museum – the Vistula Ethnographic Park in Wygiełzów and the Lipowiec Castle. The base of the nativity scene is adapted to the needs of puppet theatre.

“Rat trap” (“I Shall Never Return”, 1988)

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.

“Dummy of Bedel” — image of Kazimierz Mikulski (“The Dead Class”, 1975)

Dummy of Bedel on a Chair is an object from Tadeusz Kantor’s performance Umarła klasa [The Dead Class]. The premiere took place in the Krzysztofory Gallery in Kraków in November 1975.

“Bike”/“Manikin of a child on a bike” (“The Dead Class,” 1975)

Bike is an exhibit from Tadeusz Kantor’s performance Umarła klasa [The Dead Class].The premiere took place in the Krzysztofory Gallery in Kraków in November 1975. In the play was a prop of an “old man with a bicycle” going round and round, saying goodbye and leaving in step to the François waltz. The old man was played by Andrzej Wełmiński.

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

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.

Costume “Easter Monday Dziad” by Piotr Opach

Easter Monday Dziad (dziad śmiguśny, dziad śmigustny or słomiak), a costume for a boy or a young man walking on Easter Monday from home to home as part of the śmigus dyngus tradition in Małopolska, in villages around Limanowa. The wooden frame, a dummy imitating a standing person.

Jarosław Kozłowski, “Counting-Out Rhyme”

Fifteen bowls of dried-up paint each have a matching cloth on which someone has wiped their dirty hands. Each such soiling/cleaning set is ascribed to a site of genocide. Washing hands is a symbolic act of removing oneself from these events and thereby from any responsibility. However, the material testimony remains.