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Art, Ethics and Provocation


Anna Suwalska-Kolecka and Izabella Penier

The main purpose of this volume is to look into a wide spectrum of artistic ventures which cross boundaries and challenge habitual thinking, consequently involving an element of provocation. While it is true that not all great art is provocative, the most memorable artefacts are these which have confounded our aesthetic expectations or stirred our moral imagination. However, as the turn of the millennium witnessed ever more shocking artistic gestures of provocation, the question arises if there are any limits to artistic freedom. The essays collected in this book offer a truly interdisciplinary perspective and deal with creative acts of transgression from a broad range of fields: literature, theatre, visual art, film, anthropology, and others. This volume will appeal to readers interested in artistic and academic pursuits that are subversive and irreverent.
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Warlikowski Provokes. Gender in Theatrum Mundi in his Production of The Taming of the Shrew at the Dramatic Theatre in Warsaw


Abstract: At the beginning of his career, Krzysztof Warlikowski, today considered as one of the most distinguished Polish theatre directors, gained the reputation of a scandalmonger. The solutions that he adopted used to be the object of scorn of more conservative-minded reviewers. Warlikowski has never identified with this label, as his chief aim was to judge our past, address the challenges of the present, and probe the limits to our freedom, however painful and unpleasant the process might prove to be. To achieve his goals Warlikowski uses the canonical texts of the past and mixes them with the techniques of popular culture. Notorious for his drawing on Shakespeare, Warlikowski filters the classical stories through contemporary sensitivity and explores the plays’ potential for transgression. The main aim of this essay is to investigate the solutions that the director adopted in his production of The Taming of the Shrew at the Dramatic Theatre in Warsaw (1998) to address the performative character of gender. The characters’ attempts to circumvent or deny their socially defined roles will be interpreted in the light of the metatheatrical character of the play as highlighted by Warlikowski.

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