Heliographic composition XLIII

1939, heliograph, photographic paper

  • private collection, signed l.r.: K.H. / 39, 21.5 x 21.5 cm
  • There are two similar compositions: one in the MAL (inv. No. MS/SN/GR/1428) and one in the NMWr (inventory No. XIII/4084)
  • Negative of the composition in the form of a celluloid film (signed), from the collection of the MAL (MS/SN/GR/59, gift of Jadwiga Hiller)
  • Exhibitions: London 1982 (p. 109); Paris 1983 (item 840); Cambridge–London–Oxford 1984 (item 77); Poznań 1995 (item 56); Brussels 2001/2002 (item 32); Warsaw 2010 (item 80)
  • Reproductions: Zagrodzki 1991 (p. 126); Bauer, Ojrzyński 2002 (cat. III.41); Czubak 2010 (p. 65)

The power of this piece derives from a multiplication of forms and their rhythmic treatment. There are echoes not only of Constructivism (whose ethos involved developing arrangements of various geometricised forms) but also of Hiller’s interest in the problem of presenting the abstract world of sound visually. The composition can thus be read as a kind of pendant for composition XXIX. The forms created by Karol Hiller display a kindship with the real world on a number of levels. The artist offers motifs that can suggest not only industrial chimneys, but also musical instruments. The meticulous hatching gives rise to shapes that resemble metal drums. These, in turn, are penetrated by delicate, even lines suggesting the power of music.