Tadeusz Kantor was a theatre director, a happenings creator, a painter, a scenographer, and an art theoretician. His theatrical works gained wide international recognition and contributed to the shaping of European theatre in the 1970s and the 1980s.
Kantor studied at Cracow Academy of Fine Arts.
In 1956 he founded the Circot 2 theatrical troop. The name was a reference to the pre-war avant-garde visual artists’ theatre Cricot. Cricot 2 theatre centres were established in Cracow and Florence.
Kantor performed plays by Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz. He drew inspiration from the prose of Bruno Schulz and from his own life experience.
His theatre practice is famous for the use of manikins. Kantor referred to his vision of theatre as i.a. the “Theatre of Death”.
“He often participated directly in his productions, acting as a «master of ceremonies», attentively observing the action and intervening when necessary. The shows, often thought to be the vision of a single artist, were replete with references to a complex and multi-cultural Polish history and iconography. They brought Kantor widespread recognition and transformed him into the godfather of a style of theatre that combines the visual perception of form with the need to convey a deep, personal, emotional message. Many of his productions have been inscribed in the annals of theatrical history.” (Culture.pl)
His most prominent and recognised productions include: The Dead Class (1975), Where Are Last Year's Snows? (1979), Wielopole, Wielopole (1980), Let the Artists Die (1985), I Shall Never Return (1988), Today is my Birthday (1991). His most famous happening was the 1977 Panoramic Sea Happening.
Kitowska-Łysiak Małgorzata, Tadeusz Kantor, Culture.pl, http://culture.pl/pl/tworca/tadeusz-kantor
Kłossowicz Jan, Tadeusz Kantor. Teatr, Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy, Warszawa 1991.
Eva Kantůrková is a Czech writer, signatory and spokeswoman of Charter 77. She studied philosophy and history at the Faculty of Arts at Charles University in Prague. From 1967 she worked as a professional writer and published in official periodicals. However, the situation changed after the occupation of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops in August 1968, as Kantůrková criticized the emerging “Normalization”. Later she also signed Charter 77 and was its spokeswoman in 1985. In May 1981 she was arrested and released without a trial in March the following year. During “Normalization” her books could not be published officially. Therefore, she published in samizdat volumes. She also organized two samizdat works recalling the journalist Václav Černý and the work of the historian Josef Pekař. She contributed to exile periodicals (Listy, Svědectví, Obrys, Rozmluvy) as well.
After the Velvet Revolution, she became active in civic and political life. She was one of the founders of the Občanské forum (Civic Forum) and a member of the Chamber of Deputies from 1990–1992. Kantůrková was involved in cultural politics, and was head of the Writers’ Association from 1994–1996 and 2005–2007. From 1998–2000 she worked at the Ministry of Culture. She was a member of the council for radio and television broadcasting from 2003–2009. She wrote also several books after 1989.
Eva Kantůrková’s literary work is characterized by political and social criticism, which became more abrasive in the 1970s. Her strong motifs include allegories of the past and present, the individual and the collective. She has also been acclaimed for the three-dimensional psychological portrayals of her main characters. Kantůrková has been awarded several prizes: The Tom Stoppard Prize (1984) , The Jan Palach Prize (1989), The Egon Hostovský Prize (1999), and The Ladislav Fuks Award (2008).
- Praha, Prague, Czech Republic
James A. Kapaló is Senior Lecturer in the Study of Religions at University College Cork, Ireland and co-Director of the Marginalised and Endangered Worldviews Study Centre (MEWSC – https://mewsc.wordpress.com/). He is author of Text, Context and Performance: Gagauz Folk Religion in Discourse and Practice (Leiden: Brill, 2011) and Inochentism and Orthodox Christianity: Religious Dissent on the Russian and Romanian Borderlands (forthcoming Routledge: London, 2019) and several has published several articles on religious minorities in Central and Eastern Europe. He is Principal Investigator of the European Research Council project Creative Agency and Religious Minorities: ‘Hidden Galleries’ in the Secret Police Archives in Central and Eastern Europe (project no. 677355).
- Cork, Ireland
Yulia Karadachka-Simeonova is the chief bibliographer and head of the bibliographic and information services department. With scientific interests in the field of history and art history, Y. Karadachka was involved in the creation of the collection "Only forbidden newspapers remain in history". Taking into account the variety of forms of opposition to the totalitarian regime, Karadachka stresses the difficulty, even impossibility to clearly distinguish political and cultural opposition. Newspapers and magazines of opposition parties, for example, such as the Bulgarian Agrarian People's Union “Nikola Petkov”, the Social Democratic Party and other parties banned by the communist regime played an important cultural role as well, criticizing the lack of basic civil liberties, the restrictions on freedom of expression.
- Sofia, Bulgaria
There is not enough information for a biography on Iljko Karaman (1922-2010), as he was not a public figure. Nonetheless, he was a descendant of a distinguished Dalmatian Karaman family from Split, with a long tradition of intellectuals and lawyers. His father, Ljubo Karaman (1886-1971), was a prominent art historian and a conservator, while and his younger brother, Igor Karaman (1927-1995), a distinguished economic historian and archivist. Iljko obtained a law degree at the time of the Independent State of Croatia, and after WWII he worked as an investigator at the Public Prosecutor's Office in Zagreb. In the early 1970s, he became the Zagreb District Deputy Public Prosecutor (his personal note of 3 March 1992 contains his signature as the deputy public prosecutor).
The family friend Mrs Snježana Zima b. Znidarčić testifies that he was a member of the Catholic Crusaders Organisation (Križarska organizacija), which the communist regime began suppressing in 1945. He was also a close friend of the organisaion’s president, Dr Lav Znidarčić (1918-2001), a lawyer and political prisoner under communist rule whose private archive was organised by Karaman himself. Aside from his work, Karaman was active in the Zagreb Society for Underwater Sports, which was established in June 1954. He was the first secretary and later president of the society.
Iljko Karaman does not provide an explanation as to the reasons for collecting material in question. He apparently thought it was important to store the confiscated material is a safe place, but he does not explain the purpose of doing so. In the opinion of the mentioned Mrs Zima, he belonged to the intellectual and cultural school that had gathered around her father, Catholic lawyer Dr Lav Znidarčić, who opposed the regime and had decided to collect evidence against the communist system for future use. After the dissolution of Yugoslavia and the fall of the communist regime during the events of 1990-1991, the time had come to disclose the collection publicly and make it available for research.
- Zagreb, Croatia