Tadeusz Kantor Centenary

Tadeusz Kantor

Tadeusz Kantor

6 April 2015 marked the centenary of Tadeusz Kantor’s birth. As part of the anniversary celebrations, a seven-metre installation entitled “A Chair for Tadeusz Kantor. Homage on his 100th Birthday” opened at Plac Defilad in front of Teatr Dramatyczny in Warsaw. More events in Poland and abroad, especially in France and Italy, will follow throughout 2015, which was declared the Year of Tadeusz Kantor by UNESCO. Tadeusz Kantor (1915-1990) was a painter, stage designer, visual artist, theatre director, poet, actor, performer, art theorist, and lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków. He also designed some of the first happenings in Poland. Kantor established the avant-garde Cricot 2 Theatre in Kraków, where he staged his own plays with autobiographical themes. He often played prominent parts in his plays or appeared on stage as a master of ceremonies. Cricoteka Centre for the Documentation of the Art of Tadeusz Kantor initially opened under the name of Cricot 2 Theatre Centre in 1980. Originally it served as an archive and a meeting place for artists involved with the theatre. Now, relocated to a new building and renamed, it documents and presents Kantor’s artistic legacy. The centre has prepared two exhibitions for the centenary celebrations; both include multimedia presentations with fragments of the artist’s most celebrated performances. Kantor’s best known plays are “The Dead Class”, “Wielopole, Wielopole”, “Let the Artists Die”, “I Shall Never Return” and “Today Is My Birthday”. Cricot 2 Theatre has travelled all over the world with guest performances. The recurring themes of death, transience and the ravages of time resonate with audiences, as do the compelling performances of Cricot 2. Chairs were among Kantor’s favourite objects, frequently used as theatre props, key elements of stage sets and centrepieces of his outdoor installations. In this last function Kantor’s chairs were typically outsized, just like the one in Warsaw commemorating the artist.

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