The work of the Polish artist and director, Tadeusz Kantor, frequently challenged the nature of the object, whether through surreal détournement of the function of a thing, or the bizarre fusion of the performer and the object into a hybrid, struggling identity, striving for new forms of expression, Kantor was haunted by the idea of the possible ‘liveness’ of materials.
This symposium aims to respond to the work of contemporary artists, commissioned by Radar, who are also responding to Kantor, through particular relationships to things, sites, museums and galleries. How might Kantor’s culturally specific ‘poor object’ find itself transformed across decades into a new Europe and a new media age?
Including guest speakers on Kantor and contemporary art practice and panel discussions on objects, Kantor’s history and performance practices (from actors, artists and academics), the symposium offers an opportunity to discuss the legacy of Kantor and the impact of object-based practice today.
Dr Dan Watt, Loughborough
Dan Watt is Programme Director for Drama at Loughborough University. He gained his PhD from Sussex in 2003, where his thesis explored fragmentary writing in the work of Maurice Blanchot, Samuel Beckett and J.M. Coetzee. He joined Loughborough in 2006. His research interests include philosophical and literary influences on theatre and performance in the twentieth century, specifically in the work of Tadeusz Kantor, and his research includes investigating the nature of abject objects.
Dr Richard Allen, Worcester
Richard Allen is Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at the University of Worcester. He graduated from Wimbledon College of Art with an MA in Visual Performance (2008) and a PhD in Performance Practice from Aberystwyth University (2014). His work investigates the agency and theatricality of objects through the making of performances, films, essays and publications, including writings about the bio-objects of Kantor.
Noel Witts, Professor of Performing Arts
Noel Witts was born in Swansea and did a degree in English at the University of Leeds, where his theatrical interest started. For the last 10 years he has been busy developing undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the Performing Arts at a variety of UK universities. He has developed international contacts for young theatre practitioners in Poland, Romania, Armenia, and other European countries and is interested in the theatre of Kantor.
Dr Klara Kemp-Welch, Courthauld Institute
Klara Kemp-Welch is Lecturer in 20th-century Modernism at the Courthauld Institute. Klara Kemp-Welch was educated at University College London and the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (BA French and Art History, 1999; MA Russian and East European Literature and Culture, 2001; PhD History of Art, 2008). She has published writings about Kantor, and her next book, Networking the Bloc: International Relations and Experimental Art in Eastern Europe 1968-1989, will be published in 2018.
Dr Martin Leach, DMU
Martin Leech is Senior Lecturer in Dance at DMU. Martin’s first degree was in English and Drama at the University of Hull. After graduation he won a Polish Government scholarship to study theatre directing in Poland from 1982–1983. He recently successfully completed his PhD thesis, a philosophical study of Kantor: ‘Even the thing I am …’: Tadeusz Kantor and the Poetics of Being.
Mike Cooter, Artist
Artist Mike Cooter has lectured widely, written on the history of exhibitions and recently completed a PhD at Goldsmiths, London. His current exhibition The Mimic, the Model and the Dupe at New Walk Walk Museum, Leicester (commissioned by Radar) explores the role of objects through the Museum’s collection and is inspired by Kantor’s work. His work investigates the structural agency of objects, be they sculpture, cinematic props or other anthropological artefacts – objects co-opted or created to drive narratives, fictional or otherwise.
Image: Research photograph (with thanks to Michael Asher), Mike Cooter, 2017. Boiler heating the Abbey Pumping Station, home of Leicester City Council’s Industrial History Museum.
Via Facebook, Twitter or Email