Ewerdt Hilgemann

With his vision of taking the air out of hollow metal objects, Ewerdt Hilgemann creates works of art with a unique expressive power. Using a specially developed implosion technique, he transforms objects into fascinating forms that attract attention and trigger controversy through their deliberate imperfection.

"I am interested in the tension between the imagined form and the external influence of natural forces."

Ewerdt Hilgemann

Artist und designer

View to the south: "Habakuk" on the Avenue of the Stars in Century City, Los Angeles.

"Even the unpredictable is subject to the laws of nature!"

Ewerdt Hilgemann was born in Witten, Ruhr, in 1938 and moved to Gorinchem in the Netherlands in 1970. At the beginning of his career, he created small wooden wall objects in the style of the ZERO movement. Over time, however, he concentrated on conceptual art and now used stone and metal for his sculptures.

He has lived and worked in Amsterdam since 1984. It was here that he developed the special vacuum process in which he literally extracts the air from the geometric hollow stainless steel bodies he designs.

The resulting deformations of the material according to natural, physical laws give his works a unique expressiveness. Habakuk is one such "implosion sculpture". 

View to the north side: "Habakuk" on the Avenue of the Stars in Century City, Los Angeles.

Mr. Hilgemann, can you tell us something about the technical background of your sculpture Habakuk?
Habakuk consists of three cubic forms stacked on top of each other. By "cubic" I mean that they are not really individually stacked cubes, but cubes that stand within a rectangular column of steel plates measuring 6 x 2 meters. The invisibly welded 
intermediate floors measure 2 x 2 meters, and only after the implosion 

How did you come up with the idea of depriving your works of air?
I am interested in the tension between the conceived form and the external influences of natural forces. For me, this tension is a symbol of life itself, of the unexpected events of life and of transience.

"Is there anything softer than air, anything more vital for humans than breathing in and out?"

Please explain the unusual title of this sculpture
The name Habakuk only came about after the "implosion". While studying the newly created form, I was reminded of Max Ernst's sculpture of a bird-man of the same name, and so "Homage to Max Ernst" became part of the title.

How did you perceive the working process with Arnold AG?
It is always a challenge to create absolutely perfect forms on the edge of the impossible, and I see Arnold as an important interface when it comes to achieving this. Arnold not only has the necessary knowledge, but also the experience, which is invaluable for any artist. I would like to thank Uwe Arnold, whose own interest in my sculptures initiated the process of collaboration.

Mr. Hilgemann, thank you very much for the great collaboration and this interview.


To the artist's project page

Image: R. Giesen

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