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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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Katarzyna Fazan – Shadows of the Polish Odysseus: Wyspiański – Kantor – Grzegorzewski


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Shadows of the Polish Odysseus: Wyspiański – Kantor – Grzegorzewski

Katarzyna Fazan

Jagiellonian University


Homer’s Odysseus is not only a figure of one who returns, but also a recurrent figure. In the Polish theatrical tradition, the hero came into existence in the mind and imagination of Stanisław Wyspiański Powrót Odysa, 1907 [The Return of Odysseus] and, under the influence of his powerful vision, recurred twice in the field of imagination of Tadeusz Kantor: in 1944, in The Return of Odysseus, and in 1988, in I Shall Never Return. Finally, it was Odysseus who – again indirectly, via Wyspiański and also Kantor – crowned the oeuvre of Jerzy Grzegorzewski in 2005, shortly before his death, in the stage production of On. Drugi powrót Odysa [He. The Second Return of Odysseus] in the National Theatre in Warsaw.

Wyspiański’s drama, which both Kantor and Grzegorzewski treated quite arbitrarily, embodies extraordinary imagination. For a long time, artists and researchers have been particularly preoccupied with the last act of this 1907 play, which is focused on Odysseus’s ego, taken over by de-crystallising hallucinations. In the third act of The Return of Odysseus, the wanderer in a rocky wilderness represents the human interior in the state of dissolution. Kantor wrote about this final part of Wyspiański’s drama:

The final part / in the pure convention of Symbolism / unfurls the impressive panorama of a landscape. The...

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