Polish Unofficial Art

The Dead Class. Dramatic Seance of T. Kantor. Umarla klasa.

[Krakow]: Teatr Cricot 2 (printed by Wydawnicza im. W. L. Anczyca), [1975]. Quarto (29.5 × 21 cm). Original staple-stitched photo-illustrated wrappers (photo by the actor Andrzej Wełmiński). Very good.

Striking publication issued to accompany the second version of this performance by painter and avant-garde theater artist Tadeusz Kantor. His play Umarla klasa (The dead class, 1975) was a happening-like piece with strong autobiographical elements and a sculptural element: rows of benches filled with life-like dolls representing Kantor’s long-dead classmates as children. Both the first and the second performance took place at Galerie Krzysztofory in Krakow. In 1976, director Andrzej Wajda filmed a version of the performance with Kantor. The sculptural group is preserved at the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich. Kantor (1915–1990), born of a Catholic mother and a Jewish father and raised in a shtetl, was an important post-war painter and theatre director, who founded the well-known Cricot 2 theater in 1955. Aside from a list of actors in Polish and English, the booklet contains an expressive "script" of the performance, also translated into English, followed by a three-page text in English explicating the work, and indicating Kantor's attempt to garner international attention for his work. One of 2000 copies. As of June 2020, KVK and OCLC show copies at the University of Edinburgh and South Australia, with none in North America.

Book ID: 50835