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Tadeusz Kantor’s Memory: Other pasts, other futures


Tadeusz Kantor Polish theatre Cricot 2 Theatre of Death memory directing


Tadeusz Kantor (1915–1990) was a Polish visual artist, writer, and theatre director, who can be placed among a select group of the twentieth century’s most influential performance practitioners. The breadth and diversity of his artistic endeavours align Kantor with such varied figures as Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz (Witkacy), Marcel Duchamp, Vsevolod Meyerhold, Oscar Schlemmer, Antonin Artaud, Jackson Pollock, Jerzy Grotowski, Allan Kaprow, Peter Brook, Pina Bausch, and Robert Wilson. In significant ways, Kantor’s work with the Cricot 2 company and his theories of theatre consistently challenged and expanded the boundaries of traditional and non-traditional theatre forms.

Tadeusz Kantor’s Memory: Other pasts, other futures — published following Kantor’s centenary year and the 60th anniversary of the founding of Cricot 2, as well as anniversaries of key productions The Dead Class (1975), Wielopole, Wielopole (1980), and Let the Artists Die (1985) — gathers international perspectives from across academia and the arts to offer a major critical reappraisal of Kantor’s work. The book includes scholarly contributions by researchers from around the world, alongside reflections by leading collaborators and colleagues, and a selection of rarely seen images. Together, these materials offer an invaluable, contemporary insight into Kantor’s theoretical and artistic practice and an unprecedented view of its global sphere of influence.

Michal Kobialka is Professor of Theatre Arts at the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance, University of Minnesota. He has published over 75 articles, essays, and reviews in academic journals in the US and Europe. He is the author of A Journey Through Other Spaces: Essays and Manifestos, 1944–1990 (University of California Press, 1993), This Is My Body: Representational Practices in the Early Middle Ages (University of Michigan Press, 1999), and Further on, Nothing: Tadeusz Kantor’s Theatre (University of Minnesota Press, 2009); editor of Of Borders and Thresholds: Theatre History, Practice, and Theory (University of Minnesota Press, 1999); and co-editor (with Barbara Hanawalt) of Medieval Practices of Space (University of Minnesota Press, 2000) as well as (with Rosemarie K. Bank) of Theatre/Performance Historiography: Time, Space, Matter (Palgrave, 2015).

Natalia Zarzecka is Director of Cricoteka: The Centre for the Documentation of the Art of Tadeusz Kantor, in Kraków, where she has led development of the centre’s new building and museum space on the Vistula river. She has co-curated several Polish and international exhibitions, including within the Kantor Centenary programme at Cricoteka (2015) and ‘An Impossible Journey: The Art and Theatre of Tadeusz Kantor’ at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich, UK, within the Polska! Year (2009). She is co-editor of Italian and Polish editions of the Wielopole, Wielopole Dossier (Titivillus, 2006; Cricoteka, 2007) and Kantor Was Here (Black Dog Publishing, 2011), co-translator (with Silvia Parlagreco) of Podróż Tadeusza Kantora kompendium biograficzne (2002), and author of various texts on Tadeusz Kantor and Cricoteka.

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