Boris Kudlicka studied set design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bratislava and the Academy of Fine Arts in Groningen, the Netherlands. He made his debut as set designer in Oskar Nedbal’s ballet at the National Theatre, Bratislava. In 1995 he began working for the Polish National Opera, Warsaw, first as assistant to Andrzej Kreutz Majewski, then chief set designer. It was at that point that he started to develop his original style, characteristic for minimalism, use of materials not typically employed in theatre design and means of expression drawing from plastic arts, cinematography, visual arts and design. His sets are unconventional, built on contrasts and open to various interpretations.
Since 1996 he has been designing scenography on his own, mainly for opera. Since 1999 has developed more than a dozen opera productions with Mariusz Treliński, including Madame Butterfly, King Roger, Otello, Don Giovanni, Onegin, The Queen of Spades, Andrea Chénier, La Bohème, Orfeo ed Euridice, Boris Godunov, Iolanta, The Bluebeard’s Castle, Aleko, La Traviata, Turandot, The Flying Dutchman, Salome, Powder Her Face, Tristan and Isolde, Die tote Stadt, The Fiery Angel. He has devised set designs for the world’s leading opera houses and festivals, including the Metropolitan Opera, New York; Royal Opera House, London; Festival d’Aix-en-Provence; Théatre Royal de la Monnaie, Brussels; Staatsoper Berlin; Washington Opera; Los Angeles Opera; Welsh National Opera, Cardiff; Theater an der Wien; Tokyo Bunka Kaikan; Opera du Rhin, Strasbourg; Semperoper Dresden; San Francisco Opera; Oper Frankfurt; Royal Swedish, Stockholm; Royal Danish Opera, Copenhagen; Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg; or Festspielhaus Baden-Baden.
He may boast successful collaborations with a number of world-famous opera directors. For Keith Warner he designed sets for Death in Venice, Aribert Reimann’s King Lear and Thomas Adés’s The Tempest (Frankfurt), Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra (Strasbourg), Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Krzysztof Penderecki’s Devils of Loudun (Polish National Opera, Warsaw), and Otello (Royal Opera House, London). He worked with Amon Minamoto on the productions of Mishima’s The Temple of the Golden Pavilion (Kanagawa Arts Center, Yokohama; Lincoln Festival, New York), Mozart’s The Magic Flute (Landestheater Linz; Tokyo Bunka Kaikan), Mayuzumi’s Kinkakuji (Opéra National du Rhin; Tokyo Bunka Kaikan), and Madama Buttrfly (Tokyo Nikikai Opera). For Dale Duising he developed sets for Rossini’s Il viaggio a Reims, Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann, Cherubini’s Medea, St. John Passion, Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, and Chabrier’s L’étoile (Staatsoper Berlin).
He also designs for film, theatre, events and exhibition spaces. In 2009 he joined the WWAA architectural studio, which he lead together with Marcin Mustafa and Natalia Paszkowska until 2018. He co-designed Polish pavilions for the Expos in Hannover (2000, with Andrzej Majewski) and Shanghai (2010, with WWAA), which earned them a silver medal. He designed two major exhibitions for the National Museum in Warsaw: ‘Guercino. The Triumph of Baroque Masterpieces from Cento, Rome and Polish Collections’ and ‘Brescia. Renaissance in Northern Italy’. Moretto-Savoldo-Moroni. Rafael-Tycjan-Lotto’. Together with WWAA he developed a new interior design for Hotel Europejski and the Belvedere restaurant in Warsaw, as well as private investments in Qatar and Switzerland. Currently, he is works on the concept for the permanent exhibition for the Polish History Museum, Warsaw, a commission won by WWAA and Platige Image in an international competition. Most recently, he has launched Boris Kudlička and Partners offering architecture services and interior design (luxury spaces, architecture, renovation, hotel industry private investments in Poland, Switzerland, Qatar, and France).
Boris Kudlička’s has received a number of prizes and awards for his work. In 2005 the Theatre Institute, Warsaw awarded his scenography for Richard II (National Theatre, Warsaw). In 2006 he received the Bronze Gloria Artis Medal for Services to culture, followed by the Silver Medal in 2015. He has twice received the Dosky Slovak theatre award. He also won two gold medals at the Prague Quadrennial (2007, 2015). In 2011 he served as the Quadrennial’s curator. He is also a recipient of a Culture.pl Superbrand (2016, together with Mariusz Treliński), Mazowsze Voivode C. K. Norwid Award (2003, 2016) and TVP Kultura Gwarancja Kultury Award (with Mariusz Treliński, 2015).
Between 2011 and 2013 Boris Kudlička taught set design at the Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw.
(photo: Jarosław Mazurek)