Ostatni okres twórczości Tadeusza Kantora — po roku 1986 — jest autopodsumowaniem, które dzieje się na teatralnej scenie, w obrazach i rysunkach, pismach teoretycznych artysty, a także w jego działalności związanej z Cricoteką (potrzeba dokumentowania i zabezpieczania zbiorów). Motyw ten jest...
The Mechanical cradle 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. It comprises a wooden chest on a metal support frame, which resembles a child’s cradle. It was designed to enable the rocking movement of the chest. This movement could be triggered with a pedal, or with an installed electrical engine. Inside the exhibit, there were two wooden balls that caused a hollow rattle when they hit the chest walls during the rocking movement...
On the bench, there are seated: a Prostitute/Night-walker, a Woman with a Mechanical Cradle, a Woman Behind the Window, an Old Man with a Bicycle, an Old Man from the Toilet, the Old Man Podofilemiak, and Paralytics. In the procession of the characters, Pedel in Past Simple (the school janitor, in this case referring to the tradition of the Galician school) also appears as does the Cleaner/Death.
The role of this object is in the play is double. On the one hand, a window opens Room of Childhood on the outside, allows the penetration of other spaces. Just as it was in the play The Dead Class (1975). “The window is an unusual object that separates us from the world” the other side“, from» unknown «... of Death ...”
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.
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.
Every 8 December, on the anniversary of the artist’s death, on Kanonicza Street in Kraków, there is a kind of commemorative happening: Jan Książek and the brothers Lesław and Wacław Janiccy (Cricot 2 actors) create living monuments.
Mannequins in museum exhibitions often signify attempts to reconstruct history, they are a tool for delving into the past, which, however, does not fully achieve the intended goals (although, of course, these are subjective judgements and experiences). At the moment when theatre objects enter the space of the museum...
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.
During the vernissage at the Galerie de France in 1983, Kantor met Gerhard Schmidt (the owner of one of the most renowned galleries in Nuremberg), who convinced him to prepare an artistic project related to the 450th anniversary of the death of Wit Stwosz. Kantor did not approach the above idea enthusiastically, but he expressed his fascination with the nail, which probably pierced the cheeks of the author of the St. the Mary’s Basilica altar.
The symbolism of a door is to some extent universal — common to different cultures and religions. Because a door is always on the border, its significance, first of all, is revealed at the moment of crossing a threshold. It illustrates the existence of opposition and the transition from one state to another.
Umarła klasa [The Dead Class], a play produced by Kantor in 1976, was called a drama séance by him during which the figures of Witkacy and Bruno Schulz, two great fascinations of Kantor, were summoned. The performance was kept in the convention of a nightmare, in which you go back to your school days and experience the trauma associated with this period. In response to a signal given by Kantor, who is the conductor of the entire situation, a procession of figures begins – a procession of old men carrying children on their backs who are grown into a part of their bodies.
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
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 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.
The presented exhibit comes from the Qui non ci torno più [I Shall Never Return] performance at the Cricot 2 Theatre created in Kraków and Milan in the years 1987–1988. The performance had its premiere on 23 June 1988 at the Piccolo Teatro Studio in Milan. Nigdy tu już nie powrócę (I Shall Never Return) is a summary of Tadeusz Kantor’s previous theatrical works.
“Children at their desk” from 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.
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...
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.”