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Squaring a Circle / Henryk Waniek

25.11.2022 - 30.12.2022

Squaring a Circle / Henryk Waniek / 25.11.2022 - 30.12.2022

From 25 November, the spaces of Wrocław City Gallery will fill up with Henryk Waniek’s metaphysical paintings. On his solo exhibition, the Silesian artist presents works painted between 2018 and 20222 from his “Squaring the Circle” series together with older paintings strongly rooted in an aura of mysticism.

Squaring the circle in the title refers to the unsolvable mathematical problem, involving constructing a square whose area is exactly as that of the circle inscribed in the square. For alchemists, on the other hand, squaring the circle symbolises the union of opposites (Heaven and Earth, spirit and body, male and female elements) and, being a synonym for the legendary Philosopher’s Stone, is the key that opens the gates of total cognition and illumination. Following in the alchemists’ footsteps, Henryk Waniek proves in his art that what is irrational from a scientific point of view can be brought to fruition in an esoteric process of spiritual transformation.

In reference to the title of his latest painting series, Waniek constructs his compositions mostly based on a circle inscribed in a square. Sometimes, he fills them with idealized, fantastic landscapes saturated with a multitude of meanings, where gardens of paradise prevail alongside complex, labyrinthine spaces or multi-walled crystal solids levitating above the landscape. At other times, the artist lends his works the character of symbolological tableaux, where through simple visual attributes he presents his viewers with a compendium of alchemical knowledge.

Mirosław Jasiński, curator of the exhibition showcased at the City Gallery, describes the Silesian artist’s latest works in the following way: “Squaring the Circle” as the title of Henryk Waniek’s cycle and exhibition is of course, on the one hand, a playful reference to the form of the paintings from the cycle – tondos inscribed in a square – and on the other hand, a serious consideration about the possibility of obtaining knowledge about the nature of the Universe by means of painting representations. Performances combining religious symbols, experiences of humanity, multiple efforts to learn and break the mysteries of the Reality with the contemplation of the encountered and imagined places, with respect to which the artist stands equipped only with knowledge, faith, imagination and creative skills.
Paintings from “Squaring the Circle” series are the following stage in Henryk Waniek’s artistic and ideological development, which has continued over the decades.

The exhibition is on view until 22 December.

Henryk Waniek, Anatomia ognia, olej na płótnie 50×50 cm, 2021
Henryk Waniek, Nigredo-albedo, olej na płótnie i desce ϴ 56 cm, 2022
Henryk Waniek, Porządek, olej na płótnie i desce, 56x56cm, 2020
Henryk Waniek, Integrae naturae speculum artisque imago, olej na płótnie i desce 55×55 cm, 2019
Henryk Waniek, Narodziny tajemnicy, płótno na desce, olej, format 60×60 cm, 2022
Henryk Waniek, Rebis, olej na płótnie i desce, 32×32 cm, 2011

Galeria Miejska we Wrocławiu
ul. Kiełbaśnicza 28
50-109 Wrocław

(71) 344 67 20

Kule - projekt Lech Twardowski, wykonanie Wiesław Waszkiewicz
Logotyp - Marta Płonka