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Sztuka w obecnosci Duchampa

Hussakowska-Szyszko, Maria

English Title: Art in relation to Duchamp

In: Prace z Historii Sztuki, 21 (1995), pp. 99-105

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Translation of abstract (English)

Tadeusz Kantor emphasized more than once his respect for Marcel Duchamp, whom he called "the most intelligent artist of our century". Duchamp's works were interpreted variously by Kantor at different stages of his artistic path and in the changing context of the art of the last 20 years, a context to which Kantor was particularly responsive. In my short paper I did not set myself the ambitious task of cataloguing all Kantor's "Duchampiana". I intended to demonstrate how in the course of years Kantor himself had changed his approach to interpreting his activities and attitude, how increasingly important became his need for selfdetermination within a broadly understood current of symbolic-Dadaist origin, a current which with time came to be so capacious that one is not surprised at the presence in it of Kantor - "a Dadaist compelling to tears". Thus, in Stefan Morawski's opinion a reconciliation between the once antagonistic attitudes - Expressionist and Dadaist - a very Iiberal use of the experiences of the past, realized in full in "The Dead Class" as early as the '70s, testifies not only to the author's outstanding personality but also to his keen "artistic self-knowledge". In the "Closed Work" shown at the Centre Pompidou in 1983, which referred to the experiences from "The Dead Class", it seemed puzzling to find a coincidence with Duchamp's last message, that is, "Given are: 1. Waterfall, 2. Lighting-gas. Marcel Duchamp 1946-66". Although a direct reference to this specific work by Duchamp is indicated only by the text accompanying an exhibition mounted after Kantor's death, the relations between the two works are obvious. In a literal and figurative sense the "Closed War" breaks with the loose structure of a happening, prepared for a viewer's interference. Intended rather for peeping at than watching, it is an important stage in "Kantor's avant-garde of recollection", which concept may be recognized as parallel to the message inherent in many of Duchamp's works - that art associates itself with the sphere of feeling and eroticism rather than with that of rational experiences. In Kantor, the infantile-senile eroticism of the characters from his stage productions and from his cycle of pictures with Infanta is accompanied by the feeling of sinfulness, of eroticism understood as the transgression of a ban, as going beyond the limits of the norm. When building a model of an artist's attitude, in the verbal plane of manifestos and in actions themselves, Kantor Iiked to use parody - an important tool of his strategy. He realized that a successful parody always carries a certain degree of fidelity to the spirit of the original, this awareness underlying the model of an artist-aristocrat, a dandy from Galicia, said to be already doomed to annihilation. Conscious of the anachronic character of the ermployed props but at the same time allured by their beauty, he did not want to and could not part with them.

Document type: Article
Version: Secondary publication
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2011 13:55
Faculties / Institutes: Research Project, Working Group > Individuals
DDC-classification: Arts
Controlled Subjects: Kantor, Tadeusz, Duchamp, Marcel
Subject (classification): Artists, Architects
Countries/Regions: East Europe
Collection: ART-Dok Central and Eastern Europe