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An Impossible Journey

2nd Jun 2009 - 30th Aug 2009

The Art and Theatre of Tadeusz Kantor

The Dead Class (detail)

The Dead Class (detail)

Tadeusz Kantor, 1975

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Tadeusz Kantor during the filming of \

Tadeusz Kantor during the filming of "Attention! Painting!"


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Sea Concert from the Panoramic Sea Happening (detail)

Sea Concert from the Panoramic Sea Happening (detail)

Tadeusz Kantor, 1967

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Discover the work of Polish artist Tadeusz Kantor, one of the most extraordinary and versatile artists of the 20th century. An Impossible Journey presents the exceptional breadth of his work, recreating the most spectacular shows of his theatre Cricot 2: "The Dead Class" (1975) and "Wielopole Wielopole" (1980).

Born in Galicia, Poland, at the start of the First World War, Kantor worked in Krakow, where he died shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Painter, stage-designer and accomplished draftsman, as well as performer and poet, Kantor made his name as a man of the avant-garde theatre.

Combining virtually all artforms, he mesmerised audiences all over the world, including in Edinburgh and London, with his dark performances of a rare emotional intensity, which mixed the traumatic with the absurd, the personal with the historical, the living with the dead, actors with mannequins.

An Impossible Journey features theatrical objects, mannequins and drawings, alongside archival films of Kantor's productions, as well as stage designs and paintings.

An Impossible Journey: Part One - YouTube

An Impossible Journey: Part Two - YouTube

Exhibition supported by:
Arts Council/lotteryNorfolk and Norwich FestivalCricoteka

An Impossible Journey is a collaboration between the Sainsbury Centre, Norfolk and Norwich Festival, Cricoteka (Krakow) and Jo Melvin.

The Sainsbury Centre summer exhibitions are presented as part of two UK cultural celebrations:

Contemporary Art Norwich 09Polska Year

POLSKA! YEAR is a joint initiative between the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The cultural programme is coordinated by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, which is responsible for the promotion of Polish culture abroad. To find out more visit

Contemporary Art Norwich (CAN) is the city's celebration of international contemporary visual art, produced by Norfolk and Norwich Festival and curated by seven partners: Norfolk and Norwich Festival, EASTinternational, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery, OUTPOST Gallery, Norfolk Contemporary Art Society and Norwich Arts Centre.

To find out more, visit