The Impossible Theatre / The Curve

The Impossible Theatre / The Curve

Barbican Centre

Tadeusz Kantor, The Sea Concerto, 1967. Photo Eustachy Kossakowski.
Courtesy Centre for the Documentation of the Art of Tadeusz Kantor Cricoleka, Cracow.

January 30, 2006

The Impossible Theatre
The Curve

3 February-17 April 2006

Barbican Art Gallery, London
Silk Street
London, EC2Y 8DS

An exhibition of art from Poland featuring Pawel Althamer, Tadeusz Kantor, Katarzyna Kozyra, Robert Kusmirowski and Artur Zmijewski

Admission free
11am 8pm
Public information tel no: 44 (0)20 7638 8891

Tadeusz Kantor (1915 1990) is one of the giants of modern Polish culture. A director, designer, visual artist and theorist, Kantor had an astounding career in which he tested the boundaries of artistic disciplines. This exhibition features his work alongside that of the contemporary Polish artists Pawel Althamer, Katarzyna Kozyra, Robert Kusmirowski and Artur Zmijewski.

The exhibition features material relating to many of Kantors pioneering works. These include Panoramic Sea Happening (1967), where a conductor directed the natural sounds of the sea. Another major work is the installation Pillory II (1985), originally part of a stage set and reminiscent of medieval stocks. Many preparatory drawings, props and documents relating to Kantors productions will be showcased, including material from his staging of Witkiewiczs The Water Hen in 1967.

Kantors revolutionary approach to performance is reflected in the work of the contemporary Polish artists who are exhibited alongside him. Many of the works draw on what Kantor called the lowest ranking reality debased objects, people and customs.
Pawel Althamer
Althamer is showing a specially conceived performance, Staff en Plein Air, in which security staff of Zacheta gallery, Warsaw, become improvising actors of the work. The group will travel to London where they will experience the cultural life of the city and will replace the staff of The Curve for one day (Friday 3 February).
Katarzyna Kozyra
Kozyras work investigates issues surrounding identity, cultural taboos and transgression. She has created a new work for The Curve continuing her ongoing series of outrageous performances as an opera diva,In Art Dreams Come True. Each performance explores the possibility of failure and humiliation. On Thursday 2 March at 6.30pm in The Curve, Katarzyna Kozyra will give a talk about her work.
Robert Kusmirowski
Kusmirowski is known for creating sculptures that mimic reality and examine the notion of the original. His contribution to the exhibition is a replica of an empty classroom, inspired by Kantors play The Dead Class (1975).
Artur Zmijewski
Zmijewski has made a number of films and photographs that show people with physical or mental disabilities overcoming their limitations. The exhibition features Singing Lesson II (2003), a video in which a group of hearing-impaired youths are taught to sing a cantata by Bach.

The Impossible Theatre has been curated by Sabine Folie and Hanna Wroblewska and organised by Kunsthalle Wien in collaboration with Barbican Art Gallery and Zacheta National Gallery Of Art, Warsaw. The new works by Pawel Althamer and Katarzyna Kozyra have been produced by Barbican Art Gallery in association with the Polish Cultural Institute, London.

Also showing at Barbican Art Gallery: Tropicália: A Revolution in Brazilian Culture (16 Feb 21 May 06).

Find out more about Barbican Art Gallerys exhibition programme at

Coinciding with the exhibition is a double-bill of electrifying performances by the pioneering Polish theatre company, Gardzienice Centre for Theatre Practices, in The Pit, 1 – 11 February. A weekend of talks and events accompany the performances. For more information see the bite06 brochure or visit

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Barbican Centre
January 30, 2006

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