intervention / campaign / terror / exercise / drill / manoeuvre / surprise / demonstratio n / ritual / operation / riot / guerilla theater / street action / event /...
With already three decades of continuous neo-actionist hyper-experimentation behind him, Istvan Kantor remains one of the most active and provocative contributors of today's live-art/performance scene. While he has never been taken in by the institutional academic art world, he has earned international reputation for his uncompromising artistic attitude and radical engagements. His work has been compered to Buddha, Duchamp, Charles Manson, Beuys, Marinetti, Lenin, Kaffka, Emma Goldman, John Cage, Dracula, Maciunas, Manzoni, Nitsch, Filliou, the Pope, and others.
Better known as Monty Cantsin, the founder of Neoism, Kantor/Cantsin immigrated from Hungary to Canada in 1976 via Paris. In collaboration with correspondence artist David Zack, Kantor launched the Monty Cantsin open-pop-star project in 1978 in Portland, Oregon. He initiated both, the international operations of Neoism and his major life-long performance "Blood Campaign" in 1979 in Montreal. In 1986 Kantor/Cantsin relocated his headquarters to New York City to re-emerge as "self-appointed leader of the people of the Lower East Side." He has been arrested and imprisoned several times for his spontaneous interventions in museums. His criminal records include the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the National Gallery of Canada(Ottawa), the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), the Musee d'art contemporain de Montreal, the Ludwig Museum(Cologne).
Kantor's performance work explores the body as well as technology, from blood to video to physical gestures via digital sampling, breathing, computers or pneumatic machinery. He often incorporates objects in his actions such as the steam iron, coat hanger, clocks, flags, megaphone, toys, scrapmetal, etc. He likes to break things and set things on fire. He uses conflicts and crisis to present his cause, often placing himself in the center of danger and uncertainity.
Kantor/Cantsin regularly performs at local and international festivals, special events, and keeps exploring entirely different ways and directions. His participation in the Wasteland series, initiated by young artist rebel Jubal Brown in Toronto, demonstrates Kantor's ceasless interest in investigating yet obscure territories and his aim to continuously subvert forms. In 1998 Kantor toured in Europe performing in Hungary, Germany, Italy, Holland and Ireland. He has recently participated at AREALE '99 festival that took place in an industrial zone near Berlin, bringing together international artists from many parts of the world representing a new trend of robotic performance and machinery-art. Another of his recent participation at a performance event in july/99 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, ended with an unexpected anti-censorship riot in the street provoked by the bureaucratic intervention of a gallery director, and assisted by the media, the police, the firemen, university security, students and passers-by.