Tadeusz Kantor: Où sont les neiges d'antan

Andrzej Sapija, Gdzie są niegdysiejsze śniegi (Where are Last Year's Snows), (Filmstill), 1984 © WFO

9 October 2019 – 5 January 2020


With the exhibition, «Tadeusz Kantor: Où sont les neiges d'antan», Museum Tinguely presents one of Poland’s most important theatre and visual artists of the 20th century with one of his expansive works for the stage. Tadeusz Kantor’s (1915-1990) independent underground theatre, devoted to the reality of everyday life and often critically concerned with Poland's suppressed history, is still influential for a young generation of theatre artists today.

Portrait Tadeusz Kantor

Tadeusz Kantor in the Cricot 2 Center in Krakow, 1987, photo: Daniel Simpson

Tadeusz Kantor in the Cricot 2 Center in Krakow, 1987, photo: Daniel Simpson

Theatre and visual artist

Tadeusz Kantor, Untitled (The Trumpet of the Last Judgement), 1979

Tadeusz Kantor, Untitled (The Trumpet of the Last Judgement), 1979 © Maria Kantor & Dorota Krakowska / Tadeusz Kantor Foundation

Tadeusz Kantor, Objects of «Où sont les neiges d'antan», 1982, Installation view: «Tadeusz  Kantor. Episode Four», Cricoteka, 2018-2019, Krakow

Tadeusz Kantor, Objects of «Où sont les neiges d'antan», 1982, Installation view: «Tadeusz Kantor. Episode Four», Cricoteka, 2018-2019, Krakow © Maria Kantor & Dorota Krakowska / Tadeusz Kantor Foundation

Virtual Reality-experience

9 to 20 October

The visitors of the museum can experience the Virtual Reality-programme Cricoterie (2019) by Auriea Harvey & Michaël Samyn exclusively for two weeks from the opening in the large exhibition hall.

Virtual Reality-animation from 9 to 20 October 2019

At Museum Tinguely, from 9 to 20 October, the exhibition is accompanied by the Virtual Reality-simulation Cricoterie (2019), by Auriea Harvey & Michaël Samyn. Visitors are invited to be the hands directing a virtual stage filled with a cast of uncanny characters and props, inspired by Kantor’s Theater of Death and simultaneously, the audience watches as things get out of hand.



Auriea Harvey & Michaël Samyn, Cricoterie, 2019 (Installation view), VR-programm

Auriea Harvey & Michaël Samyn, Cricoterie, 2019 (Installation view), VR-programme © Courtesy of the artists, music: Gerry De Mol, photo: Karolina Zajączkowska

Part of the ensemble

It is seen as a model of radical, pan-disciplinary theatre experiments, as well as the abolition of the difference between stage and auditorium. Above all, Kantor exploded the boundaries of classical theatre as he stood on stage, as director, in the midst of his actors, giving instructions, intervening, and thus becoming a foreign body in the ensemble. Part of his artistic practice was the reuse of objects. Old and damaged things are his ‹natural› medium and the motif of death is one of the most important themes in his works.


The cricotage (Kantor’s term for this short form of performance is derived from the name of his theatre) Où sont les neiges d’antan is the artist’s first production constructed without a pre-existing text. There is only the literary allusion of the title: it cites the Ballade des dames du temps jadis included in Le Grand Testament (1461) by François Villon, a French medievalv‹poète maudit›.

The Trumpet of the Last Judgement

The current exhibition at Museum Tinguely presents objects and costumes from Où sont les neiges d'antan. They are accompanied by the screening of a rehearsal of the performance, filmed on the eve of its Polish premiere in 1984 at the Stodoła Students’ Club in Warsaw by Andrzej Sapija. Drawings and sketches by Tadeusz Kantor are juxtaposed with photographic documentation and posters.

Playing a Jewish song, The Trumpet of the Last Judgement from Tadeusz Kantor’s performance, opens up a dialogue surrounding the theme of the Dance of Death with Jean Tinguely’s installation Mengele – Dance of Death (1986). The sounds of a past tragedy heard from the next room, where Tinguely’s work is displayed, seem to anticipate the activation of Kantor’s machine – a trumpet announcing the imminent end. Tinguely’s work was made chiefly out of the remains of a burned-down farm.

Tinguely and Kantor

Jean Tinguely and Tadeusz Kantor met around 1960 through Theodor Ahrenberg, a Swedish collector settled in Chexbres. Both artists blended their personal history with the cultural memory in their works. Tinguely and Kantor shared the same interest in process-related art and hybrid media, attempting to break down categories and boundaries between art and real life. Nevertheless, the two artists produced works that were ideologically very remote from each other.

Cricoteka & Culturscapes

The guest-curated show from the Cricoteka in Krakow runs until 5 January 2020 at Museum Tinguely and is Kantor's first solo exhibition in Switzerland in more than ten years. The project is a cooperation with CULTURESCAPE Poland. This is a Swiss cultural festival, through which the cultural landscape of another country or region is presented.

Within the framework of the CULTURESCAPE Festival and in cooperation with the Theater Basel, museum visitors* will receive a 20% discount on the daily price of "The constant Prince" by showing their receipt of their museum visit. In return, spectators of the performance "The constant Prince" receive a reduced admission at Museum Tinguely.

Guest Curators: Małgorzata Paluch-Cybulska, Bogdan Renczyński, Natalia Zarzecka / The Centre for the Documentation of the Art of Tadeusz Kantor CRICOTEKA in Krakow