Year 1947.
A year of decision.
The decision becomes radical.
The image of man regarded as the only valid one so far disappears.
Instead, there emerges gradually some biographical forms of life –
more primitive species, almost animalistic, with few remaining
traces of “mankind”, of perhaps few anticipatory.
I started the cycle of creation afresh, afresh.
Perhaps this time it is going to be a success!
It was not a manifestation of an avant-garde rebellion desecrating
man’s traditional image.
This act of deformation of classical beauty
was not conducted on aesthetic categories.
The time of war and of the “Overlords of the World” made me
lose trust in the old image,
with its magnificent shapes,
a species towering over the remaining, apparently
lower species,
It was a discovery indeed! That those seemingly holy
looks disguise a  b e a s t.
This is the explanation I offer today.
It was the same in the post-war year.
I remember the dislike and the cold indifference
with which I regarded all those man’s images,
which crowded the walls of museums and glanced at me
innocently as though nothing had happened,
playing, dancing, feasting, posturing.
How fervently did I look for another world
and another space.
How proudly did I view – “d i f f e r e n t l y” – those harsh
Biblical days of  “GENESIS” described to be believed.
I experienced a growing distrust towards the allegedly
“higher forms” of the human species and of civilization.


Tadeusz Kantor, “Intimate Comments”, 1986-88, typescript in the Cricoteka Archives, p. 4


"A Man with an Umbrella", a composition,  1949, the National Museum in Warsaw

“A Man with an Umbrella”, a composition, 1949, the National Museum in Warsaw

And an inner imperative to descend
into the deeper and lower layers of nature.
Of nature and the human condition.

In fact
it was not that simple.
You had to cope with
several obstacles.
The greatest of them was
a certain kind of consciousness
shaped by long years of
What may otherwise be a virtue
becomes in this case a culpable
inclination towards orthodoxy.
 Since I decided
to be frank,
I must admit there were
moments when I was losing
faith that things would go on.
It is a cry
that reverberated
many times in my life.
Moments of despair.
It was certainly so.
But repeating that
“nihilist” cry
I felt very well.
Despair always gives me,
in consequence,
enormous strength.
The only thing is not to give up!



Tadeusz Kantor, “Intimate Comments”, 1986-88, typescript in the Cricoteka Archives, p. 4-5.

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