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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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Klaus Dermutz – ‘The Horror of War and/of The World, with the Circus Mixed.’ Reflections by Anselm Kiefer on Tadeusz Kantor’s Theatre


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‘The Horror of War and/of The World, with the Circus Mixed.’1 Reflections by Anselm Kiefer on Tadeusz Kantor’s theatre

Klaus Dermutz

To mark the 20th anniversary of the death of Tadeusz Kantor and for the purpose of the international symposium Tadeusz Kantor Today in Krakow, it seems apt to discuss the impact of the artist’s theatre. I would like to focus on the ways in which Kantor’s art has left an impression on the mind of the painter Anselm Kiefer, who remarked that Kantor’s productions have provided him with some of the ‘most wonderful moments’2 of his life. In one of our conversations, which was recently published in the book Die Kunst geht knapp nicht unter3 [Art Is Barely Keeping Its Head above Water], Kiefer observed, ‘Kantor’s theatre is the greatest of all time.’ ‘Today’ is as tied to the past through the traces of memory as it is connected with Kantor’s ‘Clichés of the future’4:

1947, immediately after the war

In Warsaw, I saw a metal bridge in pieces, shattered by a bomb.

I was struck by the inconceiveable wreckage.

A devastating sensation of the force that had wrought this.

The impression was of an ‘artistic’ nature,

since it was devoid of any actual, risky emotions occasioned

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