(German 1938 – )
Meticulously crafting stainless steel geometric forms, Ewerdt Hilgemann then encourages them to implode by vacuuming the air from the interiors. As a conceptual sculptor, elementary research has, from the beginning, characterized Hilgemann’s work. In the 1960s, he experimented with subtle, white wooden wall pieces that captured light, eventually he started to use stone and steel to explore positive versus negative in geometric shapes. In the early 1980s, he introduced randomness and forces of nature into his working method. His fascination with the power and brute force of air, something so soft, ephemeral, and vital to human existence, has led him to the evacuated air pieces he is becoming best known for.
Hilgemann was born in Witten, Germany in 1938 and currently lives and works in Amsterdam. He studied at Westfälische Wilhelms-University in Münster, before attending Werkkunstschule and University of Saarland in Saarbrücken. Trained under Oskar Holweck (1924–2007), Hilgemann was deeply influenced by the artist group ZERO and its focus on movement and light as artistic media. He had residencies at Kätelhöhn Printers in Wamel, Asterstein in Koblenz and Halfmannshof in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. He started to exhibit his work across Europe in the early 1960s before moving to Gorinchemem, The Netherlands in 1970. From 1977 to 1998 he taught Concept Development at the Sculpture Department of Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam. Hilgemann’s work is in private and public collections worldwide including Museum Lenbachhaus, Munich, Germany; Museum Mondriaanhuis, Amersfoot, Netherlands; Irvine Fine Arts Center, Irvine, CA; Art Field, Moscow, Russia; Vasareli Museum, Budapest, Hungary; Groninger Museum, Groningen, Netherlands; and has public installations in Busan, Korea and the City of West Hollywood, CA. In 2014, The Fund for Park Avenue Sculpture Committee and NYC Parks in New York City invited Hilgemann to exhibit large-scale, stainless steel artworks on the median along Park Avenue for seven locations between 52nd and 67th Streets. The accompanying catalogue EH, which includes an interview by Katherine Hahn and essays by Evert Schoorl and Saul Ostrow, was published in 2015 by Art Affairs, Amsterdam.