In 1946, 1947 my paintings began to feature work as such.
Physical work. Done by women, “Washer-women”, “Ironing-women”.
Gentleness and some kind of physical brutality.
Though the women were hardly  gentle in their spasmodic movement
of tedious toil.
I had not expected that my concern would soon become
the officially recommended subject. I was on time!
Put how to account for that kind of interest in a rather
morbid person. whose imagination was sufficiently “detached”
to ensure his lack of understanding of a “mundane” subject.

"Washerwoman," 1946, the National Museum in Warsaw

“Washerwoman,” 1946, the National Museum in Warsaw


At this point I could draw on the Gospels. “In the sweat of
your brows”… The springs of art and of the Gospels well up
from the deep layers of existence.
EXISTENCE. At last I found the word,
which explains a lot of my later JOURNEY.
And one more thing:
the word WORK sounds like a  s i g n a l
I have just mentioned.
WORK and POVERTY. Inseparable.
Then on my WAY – the POOR theatre,
“an object deprived of its function and purposes in life,
but which is able,


through its very “poverty”, undertake the function


of a work of art”.
But that comes later, much later…



Tadeusz Kantor, “Intimate Comments”, 1986-88, typescript in the Cricoteka Archives, p. 3.

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