Anatomical Theatre Program

Free entrance to all events. Workshops require registration.


Anna R. Burzyńska – Lecture Anatomical Theatre: Autopsy as a Performance
13 November 2014, 7:00 p.m.

The lecture will discuss the history of an anatomical theatre and provide an analysis of different aspects related to it, such as: the idea of an autopsy as a spectacle and a cadaver as an actor or a stage; the dramaturgy of a surgical procedure perceived as a performance; the architecture of an anatomical theatre; the image of theatrum anatomicum in paintings and prints (from the books De humani corporis fabrica to The Gross Clinic by Thomas Eakins); the attempts to blur the lines between medicine and theatre as well as philosophical, ethical and religious symbolism associated with an anatomical theatre.


Screening of Christoph Schlingensief’s Church of Fear vs. the Alien Within
17 November 2014, 7:00 p.m.

Church of Fear vs. the Alien Within is the title of a production and installation by Christoph Schlingensief, eminent German film and theatre director, awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale. In this project the fields of medicine, religion and art, an autopsy table, an altar of sacrifice and theatre stage are all connected to become one: the artist, in final stages of cancer and witnessed by the audience conducts his own autopsy and organises his own burial service.

The screening is in German, with an introduction by Anna R. Burzyńska.


Dead Body. Kantor and Other Anatomy of Death Productions
Lecture by Katarzyna Fazan
27 November 2014, 7:00 p.m.

The Theatre of Death, using representations of dead bodies, became the trademark of Tadeusz Kantor’s work. The next generation of visual artists and theatre creators, whether referring to this tradition or independently, have been developing new ‘anatomies of perception’ of death (concept by Anna Wieczorkiewicz). The lecture will discuss dialogues and confrontations between Kantor’s ‘anatomical theatre’ using the language of symbols and archetypes, an individual concept of the ‘real’ image of death and most recent Polish art represented by Katarzyna Kozyra, Grzegorz Klaman, Zbigniew Libera, Krystian Lupa, Krzyszof Warlikowski, Barbara Wysocka – artists who search for and tear apart the borders between the literality of death and body and their emblematic and artistic representation.


Re: the anatomy lesson. Performance, documentation, repetition
Seminar by Joanna Jopek
12 December 2014, 5:00 p.m. (Cancelled)

The seminar is focused on an analysis of visual materials: replicas of prints illustrating anatomical theatres and anatomy lessons, replicas of The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp by Rembrandt, and documentations of Tadeusz Kantor’s The Anatomy Lesson According to Rembrandt. The themes of returning, repetition and transfer of meanings in representations of the ‘anatomy lesson’ will be accompanied by the findings of performance theorists – Peggy Phelan and Rebecca Schneider – who tackled the problem of the elusiveness of a performance as well as its possible documentation and reproduction.


Performative workshop moderated by Wojtek Ziemilski
13 December 2014, (11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.)

Wojtek Ziemilski, a video artist, performer and director will run performative workshops, the starting point being the idea of theatrum anatomicum and Tadeusz Kantor’s happening The Anatomy Lesson According to Rembrandt. Earlier declaration of workshop participation via email is required:


The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp (and others) in 20th Century Poetry and Drama
Lecture by Mateusz Antoniuk
19 Decemnber 2014, 7:00 p.m.

References to the famous painting by Rembrandt in Polish poetry and drama, mainly after 1945 (Grochowiak, Białoszewski, Rymkiewicz), will be the focus of the lecturer’s attention. Other literary demonstrations of the fascination with the dead body, degraded, subject to medical and laboratory procedures, will be discussed in the background.



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