Beuys | Kantor: Remembering

From 22 May to 27 October, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem presents an exhibition Beuys | Kantor: Remembering, dedicated to the figures of two outstanding artists of the twentieth century – Joseph Beuys and Tadeusz Kantor. The exhibition curators are Jaromir Jedliński and Suzanne Landau.

The German artist, Joseph Beuys, never visited Israel, though an exhibition of his works was planned there in the 1970s. Performances of Tadeusz Kantor’s The Dead Class, which took place in December 1985 in Jaffa, are remembered to this day. On the initiative of the Polish curator Jaromir Jedliński, these two artists – their work and biographies – have now met in the Jerusalem museum.

Beuys | Kantor: Remembering focuses on the question of memory – the memory contained in the works of artists, as well as the memory of their achievements. The artists share their place of origin, forms of artistic expression and discussed themes, they both practised drawing, painting, sculpture, happenings, and action art. In 1973, thanks to Richard Demarco, they met in Edinburgh in person. At the Edinburgh Festival Beuys showed the Scottish Symphony, and Tadeusz Kantor presented his performance Lovelies and Dowdies based on Witkacy. The festival performances were preserved on a photograph documenting the participation of the German artist in the Cricot 2 Theatre production.

The highlight of the exhibition is the juxtaposition of two works: Beuys’ sculptural installation The End of the Twentieth Century (the version from the Tate Modern in London) and The Great Emballage at the End of the Twentieth Century by Kantor, which is a scene from the  Cricot 2 Theatre performance I Shall Never Return, displayed in Jerusalem in form of a photograph.

The objects and photographs on loan from the Cricoteka collection, in addition to exhibits from museum collections in Poznań and Łódź, constitute the core of the part of the exhibition in the Israel Museum, which is devoted to the Polish artist; Cricoteka also provided a considerable part of the illustrative material for its catalogue. The consultations and preparations for this important project lasted more than two years.

We recommend the interview with Jaromir Jedliński about the exhibition Beuys | Kantor. RememberingArtyści wagi państwowej [Artists of National Importance], which appeared on the dwutygodnik.com website.

James Snyder, director of the Israel Museum, talks about the exhibition.

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