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.
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.
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.”
This mock-up is one of the most valuable objects in the collections of HMK, related to the scenographic activity of Stanisław Wyspiański. As an experienced theatre practitioner and stage director of his dramas, Wyspiański made scenography sketches, decorations, and costume designs, as well as mock-ups.
Theatre props/costumes/elements of scenography presented on the website are mostly incomplete objects which, although they are the key to many fascinating narratives, can hardly be examined in isolation from their staging. It is different when it comes to the objects from Tadeusz Kantor’s performances...
As a result of a competition, the costume and stage design for Karol Szymanowski's ballet, Harnasie, was prepared by Irena Lorentowicz, a stage designer and painter, a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. The costume design, including the drawings and models, has been exhibited since 24 April 1936 in the Orbis halls, located near the Opera building.
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.
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.
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 “Cross” is a stage element from the Wielopole, Wielopole performance at the Cricot 2 Theatre. The premiere took place in Florence in June 1980 in a building that was formerly a monastery at 25 via Santa Maria. What is symptomatic here is that, apart from the discussed cross, the Wielopole, Wielopole play featured 15 other crosses, and in his entire theatrical oeuvre Tadeusz Kantor created more than 30 crosses.