Tadeusz Kantor: Representation Loses More and More Its Charm (1955)

From theories and documents of CONTEMPORARY ART a sourcebook of artists' writings. Edited by Kristine Stiles and Peter Selz



"Representation"
loses more and more its charm.
To create painting is
in itself
a living organism,
moving like
a hive.
Space which retracts violently
condenses forms
to dimensions of molecules
to the limit of the "impossible."
In this dreadful movement
the speed of making decisions
and of interventions,
the spontaneity of the behavior
constantly grazes
risk.
Danger connected with phenomena
ignored,
scorned,
inhabited in the lowest regions
of human activity
refusing all rational classification.
It is art that will rediscover the reason for being
and its rank.
It is risk that is the origin of this
great adventure,
of this game which situates itself
always at the limit of the risk
and whose outcome - despite rules -
remains forever unforseeable.
...Painting becomes a demonstration of life,
a depository of diverse activities.
I am fascinated by this play of chance
with matter,
this battle without victories or defeats
this spectacle, in which I do not at all play the principal character,
and which holds me bound in a passionate expectation
of the unknown epilogue.

Excerpt from "Carnet des notes" (1955), in Tadeusz Kantor Metamorphoses (Paris: Galerie de France, 1982)







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