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Tadeusz Kantor Today

Metamorphoses of Death, Memory and Presence- Translated by Anda MacBride

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Edited By Katarzyna Fazan, Anna R. Burzynska and Marta Brys

This book is a compendium of texts by international authors which reflect on Tadeusz Kantor’s art in a broad range of contexts. The studies include works of prominent art historians, theatrologists and artists. The present revisiting of Kantor’s artistic œuvre reflects a contemporary historiographic approach. The authors place value on individual memory and consider contemporary art outside the traditional boundaries of particular artistic genres. The studies employ the latest strategies for researching theatrical performance as autonomous statements, without a literary anchor. Thanks to this approach, the eschatological and historical issues, crucial to the sphere of reference of Kantor’s Theatre of Death, have acquired a new presence – as art that liberates thinking in the here-and-now.

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2. Paintings and Objects: Etymologies and Evolutions

Extract

The Role of Drawing in the Creation of Tadeusz Kantor’s Self-mythology Lech Stangret In Tadeusz Kantor’s art we come across every textbook definition of a drawing.1 Of course, not all follow the alternative formula. The rigorous division into a drawing as an autonomous genre, a pre-figuration of another work or a form of notation is often disposed with. Individual modules are blended together, creating qualitatively new forms. When analysing Kantor’s art by following the trail of drawings, we enter a labyrinth in which questions multiply. The artist is playing with us, whether using dates, forms or themes. He evades and obfuscates, he makes pretend, he provides new significance. Simultaneously, a drawing carries an imprint of his life and artistic search. Sketches which existed at the interface of theatre and painting function as envoys of Kantor’s art and his intimate diaries.2 When scrutinising Kantor’s drawings, we notice that many have been ‘doctored’, made much later than the dates written on them would lead us to believe. An investigation of the technical means used provides a useful clue in unravelling these manipulations. For example, in many instances the author used a felt tip pen, which he could not have possibly used for his sketches from the 1930s or 40s, as the device had not yet been invented.3 Under the circumstances, the ‘naivety’ of the practice is astounding, and begs a number of questions: first of all, what was the point of this dissimulation, secondly, why did the artist embark on the chore...

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