Tadeusz Kantor Today Metamorphoses of Death, Memory and Presence

Katarzyna Fazan, Anna Róża Burzyńska, Marta Bryś (eds.), translated by Anda MacBride, Peter Lang International Academic Publisher

This book is a compendium of texts by international authors which reflect on Tadeusz Kantor’s art in a broad range of contexts. The studies include works of prominent art historians, theatrologists and artists. The present revisiting of Kantor’s artistic oeuvre reflects a contemporary historiographic approach. The authors place value on individual memory and consider contemporary art outside the traditional boundaries of particular artistic genres. The studies employ the latest strategies for researching theatrical performance as autonomous statements, without a literary anchor. Thanks to this approach, the eschatological and historical issues, crucial to the sphere of reference of Kantor’s Theatre of Death, have acquired a new presence – as art that liberates thinking in the here-and-now.

The book Tadeusz Kantor Today: Metamorphoses of Death, Memory and Presence is the corollary of an unusual symposium that took place in December 2010, on the 20th anniversary of the artist’s death. We all gathered to remember the creator of the Theatre of Death, reflecting on the imperative to revive the memory of the legacy of his oeuvre contained in the written and recorded documents and in the living narrative: the works and tales of those who also helped create Cricot 2.

The voices of the artists, theatrologists and art historians from all over the world, who either reminisce about Kantor or become acquainted with his art as an element of artistic tradition, combine into a polyphonic and interdisciplinary volume. The multiplicity of voices cover the painting, theatrical and literary art of this master of theatre. The book provides syntheses that allow insights into the artistic historiography that Tadeusz Kantor conducted as part of his Theatre of Death and brings back his singular onstage encounters with death in his personal and autobiographical productions. Some of the articles presented in this volume analyse Kantor’s art and define its original and unique forms; others tested its universal dimension, comparing and contrasting it with prominent artists of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.

This return to Kantor’s oeuvre is assisted by the many strands of contemporary histography that value individual memory and the strands of contemporary visual arts that transcend art as well as the latest staging strategies of the postdramatic theatre. Thanks to this approach, the eschatological and historic content characteristic of the Theatre of Death has been revealed in a new guise of art liberating the thought ‘here and now’.

Katarzyna Fazan

 

Tadeusz Kantor Today Metamorphoses of Death, Memory and Presence, Katarzyna Fazan, Anna Róża Burzyńska, Marta Bryś (eds.), translated by Anda MacBride, Peter Lang International Academic Publisher 2014

 

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