Istvan Kantor

Istvan Kantor, recepient of the 2004 Governor General's Award for Visual and Media Arts, also known as Monty Cantsin, open-pop-star, the founder of Neoism, “Self-Appointed Leader of the People of the Lower East Side”, is an action based media artist/subvertainer/producer, active in many fields, performance, robotics, mixed-media, installation, painting, sound, music, video and new media.

Kantor was born in Budapest where he studied medical science. In 1976, at age 26, he defected to Paris and from there he immigrated to Montreal. He also lived in Portland, New York, Berlin and presently is a resident of Toronto where his three children, Jericho, Babylon and Nineveh were born in the 90’s.

His main subjects are the decay of technology and the struggle of the individual in technological society. His work has been described by the media as intellectually rebellious, anti-authoritarian, as well as technically innovative and highly experimental. He likes to break things and set things on fire. He uses conflict and crisis to present his cause, often placing himself in the center of danger and uncertainty. His radically changing creative ambitions are always related to his living environment and social situation.

In collaboration with legendary correspondence artist David Zack, Kantor launched the Monty Cantsin open-pop-star project in Portland, Oregon in 1978. He initiated both the international operations of Neoism and his major life-long performance "Blood Campaign" in 1979 in Montreal. In the mid 80’s Kantor/Cantsin relocated to New York City, re-emerging as "self-appointed leader of the people of the Lower East Side".

Kantors's performance based 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 such as steam irons, coat hangers, clocks, flags and megaphones into his actions.

Throughout the past three decades he has been arrested and jailed many times for his guerilla interventions in museums. He also received many prestigious awards among them the Telefilm Canada Award for Best Canadian Film and Video in 1998, in Toronto and the Transmediale Award in 2001, in Berlin.

Besides his individual work he is bandleader/singer of the Red ArmBand and founder-member of several performance groups among them Puppet Government, MachineSexActionGroup and Kantor Family Circus.

Artist Code: 194


ANTICHRIST – Neoist Hokey Pokey

2010, 05:30 minutes, colour, English


2010, 10:20 minutes, colour, English

White Boy from the East (I AM ASIAN)

2009, 19:20 minutes, colour, English

The Party Is Over!

2009, 40:35 minutes, colour, English

(The Never Ending) OPERETTA

2008, 42:00 minutes, colour, English


2008, 14:30 minutes, colour, English


2008, 10:50 minutes, colour, English

Search for the Light

2008, 06:45 minutes, colour, English

The Legend of Joan Dark

2007, 53:30 minutes, colour, English

Deadly Gift

2007, 14:35 minutes, colour, English

Revolutionary Song

2005, 09:15 minutes, colour, English

Revolutionary Song

2005, 09:15 minutes, colour, English

lebensraum / lifespace - spectacle of noise

2004, 72:00 minutes, colour

.com scum

2001, 01:00 minutes, colour/B&W, English

THE TRINITY SESSION with Machine Sex Action Group

2001, 07:30 minutes, colour/B&W, English


2001, 15:00 minutes, colour/B&W, English


2000, 20:44 minutes, colour/B&W, English


2000, 10:00 minutes, colour/B&W, English

Brothers & Sisters!

1999, 16:24 minutes, colour/B&W, English

The Spectacle of Noise

1998, 41:30 minutes, colour/B&W, English

Black Flag

1998, 09:00 minutes, colour/B&W, English


1997, 27:00 minutes, colour, English

Concrete Noise

1995, 05:30 minutes, colour

Red Flag

1995, 04:45 minutes, colour

Cult of Sex

1994, 02:55 minutes, colour


1994, 19:00 minutes, colour, no dialogue, sans dialogue


1993, 08:40 minutes, colour, English & French

Red Shoes

1993, 00:55 minutes, colour, English & French

Sick World II : Even Sicker

1992, 18:00 minutes, colour, English


1991, 18:30 minutes, colour, English

Escape From Freedom

1991, 09:30 minutes, colour, no dialogue, sans dialogue

Critical Writing

Bloody Intruder Storms AGO: Did Istvan Kantor Enhance or Defile...
by Linda Dawn Hammond. Now, Aug. 10 Summer, 2006, v. 25, no. 50.
Toronto needs freakier rich people: Did Istvan Kantor Enhance or...
by Kevin Temple. The State of the Arts: Living with Culture in Toronto, 2006. Toronto: Coach House Books, 2006.
Hungarian rhapsodizing: Istvan Kantor's media woks honour...
by Kevin Temple. NOW, June 15, 2006, v. 25, no. 42.
Kantor's art in a revoltionary vein: Marking gallery walls with...
by Murray Whyte. The Toronto Star, Jan. 4, 2005.
Beast in show: seeing our animal future: Marking gallery walls...
by Susan Walker. The Toronto Star, June 11 Spring, 2005.
Istvan Kantor
by Daniel Baird. The Governor General's Awards in Visual and Media Arts, 2005. Ottawa: Canada Council for the Arts, 2005.
Artist who paints 'X' with his blood wins $15,000 award:...
by Paul Gessell. The National Post, Mar. 4, 2004.
The Istvan Kantor paradoxes
by Sarah Milroy. The Globe and Mail, May 19, 2004.
Mistrusting our obsession with technology
by Russel Smith. The Globe and Mail, Mar. 18, 2004.
The Art and Life of Istvan Kantor
by Daniel Baird. Canadian Art, Sept. Fall 2004, v. 21, no. 3.
My Toronto: Beware the vampires and yuppies
by Nicole Larkin. The National Post, Mar. 27, 2004.
Istvan Kantor Monty Cantsin? Amen!: An unseen selection from the...
Pleasure Dome, 2002. Toronto: Pleasure dome, 2002.
Fringe Experientiality
by James Missen. Public, 2002, v. 25.
Unravelling The Grid/"Substitute City" at the Power Plant
by Andy Fabo. C Magazine, Summer 2001, no. 70.
Sex and Noise and Neoism: Artcrime mastermind Istvan Kantor...
by Chris Barry. Montreal Mirror, Nov. 8, 2001, v. 17, no. 23.
The Spectacle of Noise: Istvan Kantor's recent video work. a selection
by A.K Nort. ArgosFestival, 2001. Brussel: Argos, 2001.
Interrupting the program...: descrambling TV through video
by Heidi May. Canadian Art, Summer 2001, v. 18, no. 2.
Images fest has a thing for sex
by Cameron Bailey. Now, Apr. 22, 1999, v. 18, no. 34.
Canadian Currents
Toronto: Absolute Choice Curatorial Collective, 1999.
High-concept filmmaking on a low budget
by Robert Everett-Green. The Globe and Mail, Apr. 24, 1998.
Our Collective Fears
by Sherri Telenko. id Magazine, Fall 1998.
From Chaos to Creation: Ed Video Screening twelve works at the...
by Michelle Elle Pettis. The Ontario Magazine for Artists, Dec. Winter 1998.
Chaos and Disaster inspires video artists
by Alan Ferris. The Guelph Mercury, Nov. 27 Winter, 1998.
Our Collective Fears
by Sherri Telenko. i-D, Nov. 26 Winter, 1998.
Images Festival a window to the outer limits: Independent spirit...
by Peter Goddard. The Toronto Star, Apr. 27, 1995.
Monty Cantsin Retrospective: Video Madness: All you ever wanted to...
by Martin Siberok. Mirror, Apr. 16, 1992, v. 7, no. 43.