Tadeusz Kantor (6 April 1915 – 8 December 1990) was a Polish painter, assemblage artist, set designer and theatre director. His work and his writing about his work is what first sparked a real interest in theater for me, as well as an understanding that there are no limits to the transformative power of live performance.
I want to state openly that
this need to create theater
and visual arts
that would be d i f f e r e n t
from the reality of political terror and
of police vigilance
was grounded neither
in a moral obligation
a R e s i s t a n c e M o v e m e n t ,
nor in feelings of p a t r i o t i s m ,
nor in the h e r o i s m of the underground movement.
I do believe that this process of
creating a d i f f e r e n t ,
o t h e r
reality whose freedom is not
bound by any laws of any system of life,
or the act itself, which is like a demiurge's act
or a dream
is the aim of art.
I keep stubbornly repeating this thought
because I am suspicious that
in the epoch of "the Springtime of the Masses,"
and of the fight for political and economic freedom,
this notion of
the biggest freedom
that is demanded by
a r t
will not be understood,
or will even be deemed unnecessary...
Freedom in art
is a gift neither from
nor from the authorities.
Freedom exists inside us.
We have to fight for freedom
in our most intimate interior,
in our solitude,
in our suffering.
— Tadeusz Kantor, 1990 (translated by Michal Kobialka)