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Tadeusz Kantor Today

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


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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Zbigniew Osiński – Tadeusz Kantor – Jerzy Grotowski: Two Concepts of Theatre and Art


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Tadeusz Kantor – Jerzy Grotowski: Two Concepts of Theatre and Art*

Zbigniew Osiński

When, in March 1996, at the symposium The Contexts of the Art of Tadeusz Kantor, at the Centre of Studies on Jerzy Grotowski’s Work and of the Cultural and Theatrical Research in Wrocław, I first spoke about Kantor and Grotowski: Two Theatres, Two Visions, the literature on this topic consisted of just a few anecdotes. It is peculiar that within both the Polish and foreign critical assessment of these artists no Kantor researcher had seen fit to take on board Grotowski’s work in depth, and vice versa,1 in spite of the fact that in the 1960s these two names tended to be linked as examples of outstanding avant-garde artists (frequently, Józef Szajna2 would have also been named as a third). It is only fair to mention that, during the symposium, Jan Kłossowicz gave a lecture on The ‘Poor Theatre’ and the ‘Sparse Theatre’.3

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In recent years, this has changed somewhat and public events do now occur, such as the one in the Gallery of Contemporary Art in Opole in January 2008, entitled The Laboratory of Masters,4 where the first day was devoted to Kantor, and the second – to Grotowski. They were still being treated separately, rather than comparatively.

Krystian Lupa5 and Jacek Stokłosa,6 independently of each other, had already pointed out the need to compare...

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