Tadeusz Kantor

Tadeusz Kantor

Foksal Gallery

Tadeusz Kantor, Rough Drafts, 1972–75. Mixed media. Courtesy of Maria Kantor, Dorota Krakowska and the Foksal Gallery.

August 29, 2015

Tadeusz Kantor
Rough Drafts

11 September–30 October 2015

Opening: 11 September, 6pm

Galeria Foksal (Foksal Gallery)
ul. Foksal 1/4
00-366 Warszawa

T +48228276243
foksal [​at​] mik.waw.pl


Curator: Lech Stangret
Cooperation: Aleksandra Tubielewicz

In the second half of the 1970s, Tadeusz Kantor worked on an exhibition for the Foksal Gallery in Warsaw, an exhibition which was never to make it as far as the vernissage. It was conceived as a show of his “rough drafts”—the notes, jottings, various types of drawings and so forth which he made while working on his theatrical productions. The idea was to show them as enlarged photocopies.

As Kantor himself explained, the intention was: 

“…not to treat these remnants as some kind of record/ or the fringes of creativity, private and commentative…to strip the scrap of paper of its ‘originality,’ of what constitutes a document’s value as a keepsake, its bibliophilic worth/ not the originals but common-or-garden copies, enlarged/ enlargement effaces semanticity and subjectivity,/ turning the attention toward the formal qualities/ these odds and ends become abstract/ through the action of time passing/and vitiating everything, as well.”

The Rough Drafts exhibition at the Foksal consists of some100 or so prints of his jottings, notes and so forth, all of them greatly enlarged.

The principal focus of the show turns to concepts of enormous significance to Kantor: the essence of creativity and works of art. The 1960s saw a worldwide debate on this topic, a debate in which his voice resounded with unusual innovation. 
This definition of the process-based nature of art clearly distinguishes Kantor from process art as created by Robert Morris, for instance. However, what was wholly innovative was his transferral of a discourse grounded in the visual arts into the sphere of theatre. Here, Kantor was inarguably a precursor. 

Nowadays, when art has also appropriated theatre and film to its own ends while giving up on defining the work of art itself, this aspect of Kantor’s creativity is well worth both recalling and bringing to the fore. This holds true not only because it is usually passed over in works devoted to his theatrical activities, but also because it is indiscernible in scholarly writings on contemporary visual art. 

The scenario drawn up by Kantor demonstrated just how important a sphere historical notes were to him. They were also a springboard for his actual creativity, which was centred around the topics of recollection and memory. 

This exhibition of his “rough drafts,” it sets out to turn attention to the need to identify current culture with the concepts proposed by Kantor’s art—not merely the notions of history and remembrance, but also of consciousness, identity and universality.

Tadeusz Kantor (1915–90) was a painter, draughtsman, theatre director and set designer, as well as the creator of happenings, artistic actions and theoretical manifestos. As a painter, he was involved with the Krakow Group and the Foksal Gallery. In 1956, he founded Cricot 2 Theatre, where he went on to create a number of legendary productions, including The Dead Class (1975) and Wielopole, Wielopole (1980). He was the holder of numerous awards, including the Rembrandt Prize, bestowed by the Goethe Foundation in Basle in 1978 for his outstanding contribution to the shaping of the face of the art of our age.

This project was co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.

Tadeusz Kantor at Foksal Gallery
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Foksal Gallery
August 29, 2015

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