(1891 – 1939)
Karol Hiller, Polish painter and graphic designer, is best known for his constructivist and biomorphic works. Karol Hiller along with Katarzyna Kobro and Władysław Strzemiński is the key figure of Polish inter war avant-garde movement.
Hiller was familiar with and strongly inspired by Man Ray and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy photograms. Nevertheless, dissatisfied with photograms’ experimental character, began to work on a technique that would eliminate fortuity from creation process.
Hiller’s most profound achievement is the invention of heliography in 1930, medium that combines painting, graphic and photography and enables endless graphic effects.
Biomorphic abstract works, along with geometric ones refer directly to emotions and feelings, which in artist’s belief were most important in the work of art.
15 DECEMBER – 15 FEBRUARY 2019
At the Karol Hiller: Heliographs exhibition, organised by Olszewski Gallery, sixteen heliographs are on display.
For the very first time such a significant amount of Hiller’s heliographic compositions, coming solely from private collections, can be seen in one place.
Hiller, as an artist, is usually juxtaposed along with Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Man Ray. Nevertheless, whereas the latter was happy with a significant role of fortuity in his photograms, Hiller strove to subjugate this element. The artist thus singlehandedly invented a new technique—heliography. Hiller, as a vigilant observer disappointed with the fall of avant-garde ideals and modernisation process, can be spotted only after having discovered excruciating catastrophic threads in his works.
Heliographic composition XXXVII,
At the exhibition one can recognise well known compositions, in which their predominant abstract character is expressed with a usage of geometric forms. However, the latter brought together with other, more ambiguous metaphorical heliographs on the display, are marked by a stigma of existential anxiety. Genuinely balanced and proportioned compositions are disrupted by a game of allusive distortions. Harmonious, rudimental minimalism remains solely an appearance. Deformation of forms, whirling of matter, an aggressive accumulation of crystal shapes—all of these elements create a visual tension in the compositions.
The Karol Hiller: Heliographs show invites visitors to see the reality of the 1930s from the artist’s perspective. Hidden messages expressed by a dynamic and enigmatic forms are the artist’s way of revealing the truth about contemporary world on the verge of recessions, cataclysms and radical changes.