Henryk Płóciennik   »

"Henryk Płóciennik came back to abstraction". Such a statement is simultaneously true and false. His works originated from his fascination with the interwar avant-garde - constructivism, cubism and abstraction. Avant-garde inspirations could be observed in all his painting and graphic cycles. Connections with the world of objects became less and less intensive. Even the works, where a realistic element in the image layer forced its way to the surface, were structurally dominated by abstraction.

Numerous non-figurative forms were present in fantastic, graphic or painting sceneries. The constructed landscapes were full of quasi-realistic and quasi-invented forms that were close to abstraction. Image structures, though clear and recognizable, were transformed, composed of geometrical forms, small elements with a varied degree of abstractness. Realistic motives reached the value of synthetic signs.

The stylistic of his works evolved from constructivist, flat geometrization up to abstract compositions, sometimes close to the poetic of surrealism. In figuative images, nudes, original portraits, the artist paid tribute to briefness, simplification and conciseness. They were ruled by cubist destortion - but also by geometrization and limited range of colours characteristic of this movement, or grotesque originating from dada and surrealism.

However it is difficult to call Płóciennik a constructivist, cubist or surrealistic painter. It is hard to classify him to any movement. Choosing many ways, being inspired by numerous styles, he developed his own individual language. It is obvious that he makes use of a variety of traditions as well as his own experience that he got during different periods of his work.

In his works, however, there was always a characteristic opposition: if it was realism - it was composed, synthetic; if it was geometry - it was with some realistic trace, where you could notice specific sources that constitute the object of simplification.

Earlier works, though not so abstract, inevitably foreshadowed a subsequent stage in Henryk Płóciennik’s work. Yet if the previous painterly cycles, being on the border of figurative art, included some allusive, similar to real organic forms, thoroughly elaborated, worked out, distant memories connected with real objects, the new works are reduced to pure abstraction. The artist crosses the threshold of realism and symbol on behalf of an abstract sign. And again, as previously, the analysis of his works leads to a conclusion that there is a certain dissonance, opposition or contrast in the general idea of his artistic activity.

Although the artist goes away from narration, proceeding towards space and abstract objects, the images are not predominated only by dispassionate geometry. It is in a way “disturbed". Some geometrical forms - the mainstay of certainty and perfection are precisely painted, but next to them some shapes appear which came into being with the use of monotype - the technique so difficult to control, bringing about surprises and representing the element of improvisation.

Abstract forms filling the plane are not deprived of emotions, what is more, the regular shapes are accompanied by other flowing quasi-organic ones, making up

contrast for geometry. Their composition is ruled by the principles of their own biology. Both the geometrical forms and the casual patches of colour, like foam, spongy bodies - could be interpreted as an equivalent of feelings and emotions. Taking planes and solid figures as a foundation the artist built rich abstract arrangements with varied textures. In these compositions he confronted “hard" and “soft" forms, spatial and flat, monumental and lyrical, abundant and minute, macro and microstructures. Owing to diverse texture, richness of geometrical or similar to biological motives, thanks to colour - they pulsate with life. Irregular forms exist on the plane like organic, primitive structures.

The imagined world is characterised by expressive, biological bustle, vitality, radiation of accumulated energy. Abstract forms build a kind of clean, unreal space, a landscape of the future, filled with optimism and lightness. It is a fantastic constructed landscape, not a portrait of any specific scenery. Referring to the whole space, it could be a vision of the cosmos. Rhythms of forms personified the rhythms that enlivened the whole universe.

The forms were born like organisms - perhaps that is the reason why they are endowed with such hot colours - associated with life, energy, vitality. The intensity of light radiating with brilliant colours weakens the predominant chill of geometry. The artist forces rhythms of colourful plans to play, resulting in a unique spatial symphony. The atmosphere is built by the weight and the glitter of colourful forms. Feelings and imagination are expressed by them. The composition aims at intense expression approaching lyricism. However the creator is more interested in juxtaposition of ranges of colour, he is keen on pure painterly value, not on the content.

Henryk Płóciennik clearly manifests the need for creating substantial painterly construction. It is not characterised by flatness of geometry in which component elements function equally but by spatial depth in which image components clearly fill different planes. To obtain that effect, the artist uses a variety of procedures that create depth of this -only invented - space. Different painterly planes were put on one another – made in the monotype technique, printed from graphic matrices, painted. We have an impression that some of the layers somehow force their way through the others. Texture of monotype creates spatial depth and at the same time it disturbs monotonously flat calligraphy of geometry.

The creator tries “ to mislead" us taking into consideration the sequence of layers, the order of technological stages. The fragments of selected pictorial motives look as if they were put earlier - e.g. they hide behind the layer of the monotype, though they were painted later. Some architectural forms presented from the specific perspective, three-dimensional, just direct the viewer’s sight deep inside. Some planes, captured into diagonally shaped frames, deepen space even more. Furthermore some of them are somehow “worn-out" or translucent, making an impression of layers’ penetration and image spaciousness.

It is worth mentioning that the compositions are only seemingly closed. Painted on the contour of the frame – incomplete, interrupted – they seem to be closed, they also get lost between what is external and internal. The author often introduces the accents of anxiety into the seemingly worked out order. The source of dissonance first of all relies on the contrast between

geometrical and unconstrained forms. Figures are very disciplined; some signs and also the line of contours are painted with great precision. However next to them the artist places patches that flow, exist freely – partly out of control – on the plane. In tension that is between painting and monotype discipline and improvisation, control and freedom fight against one another. Circulation of oval contoured forms, vibrating and moving, introduces movement into the images. Similarly to mutually permeating, lively strips, bands and plaits. Zones consisting of small colourful, vibrating elements dynamize the whole. They flow over the surface, bumping into one another and changing their shapes like jelly substance.

Distinct forms - angular and cylindrical - subjected to internal dynamics, press on one another in the clear space. The artist measures the weight of colours and forms. Sometimes a triangle appears in order to stabilise the composition. The composition is usually built on the basis of horizontal and vertical lines, but there are also compositions which are dominated by more energetic diagonal direction.

Henryk Płóciennik’s monotypes are - as it usually happened in case of his works - decorative. The artist obtains the ornamental character of some parts of his images by different means of expression. First of all obviously by means of traditional geometrical methods. We will find in them the echoes of thoroughly elaborated grids that once were present in linocut prints.

The creator also refers to the motives of distant exotic civilisations: cultures of Asia or the Aboriginal culture. Worked out in their characteristic ways, zones of images introduce the subsequent elements staying in opposition to stark geometry. They endow the works with a little meditative character, enriched by calligraphy, the element of improvisation, the margin of imperfection, almost uncontrolled manifestation of the author.

The essence of Henryk Płóciennik’s abstract images, his “magic of shapes", lies in his moving from the factual to psychic content. Their perception is not possible without emotions and sensitivity. The works of great power of expression are permeated by discreetly lyrical atmosphere - yet simultaneously they are precise, clear and fresh.

The latest cycle of Henryk Płóciennik’s works combines the painterly character with the drawing elements of graphic arts. The artist seems to say that to seize the deep sense of existence in art you have to come up with the combination of forms, drawing and colour. His dynamic, developing space provides us with the same kind of delight as the eye-cayching manifestations of nature. Starting with the plastic art synthesis the artist tries to find reality. Dariusz Le¶nikowski

Translated by Elżbieta Rodzeń-Le¶nikowska


Spotkanie z Autorem wystawy 15.06.2011r: