Museum Ritter
Alfred-Ritter-Straße 27
71111 Waldenbuch

Tel.  +49(0)7157.53511-0 

Timm Ulrichs
Squaring the Circle, 1987/2010

Enamelled stainless steel, helical gear unit with three-phase motor

Sculpture: 150 × 150 × 150 cm, mast: 306 cm

© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022

Photo: Gerhard Sauer


On approaching the Museum and walking down the passage through the building, which presents a visual frame round the picturesque Aichtal valley, the visitor’s gaze alights on a sculpture set on the extended axis of the passage amid the surrounding countryside. The work was made in 2010 as part of the exhibition "Timm Ulrichs: Looking Back to the Future” and is a version of a smaller multiple that is in the Collection.

The viewer sees a red steel sculpture, which constantly transforms from a square into a circle via all the intermediate stages. It appears that Timm Ulrichs has arrived at an artistic way to "square the circle". “Squaring the Circle“ refers to the centuries-old problem in geometry of constructing a square from a circle with an identical surface area. At the same time it is a well-known metaphor for an insoluble or at least exceedingly difficult task. As such one could say that Timm Ulrichs’ construction has made the impossible artistically possible by giving dynamism to this construction.
Language is the point of intellectual departure for this work. And it is transformed into a sculpture - as a figure of speech given visible form. The mathematical question comes up against an artistic solution. And ultimately a three-dimensional object visually mutates here – depending on the viewer’s standpoint – into a two-dimensional figure hovering amidst the landscape.
With its position on the east side of the Museum building, Timm Ulrichs’ “Squaring the Circle” marks the extension of the passage out into the countryside. And it announces to the visitor the inner workings of the Museum, which revolve around the square.


Timm Ulrichs

1940 born in Berlin  
Lives and works in Hanover, Münster and Berlin