From 17 – 20 September the fourth annual edition of EXPO CHICAGO will take place at Navy Pier. In addition to the Navy Pier program, IN/SITU Outside, which is part of the program for the second time, will allow EXPO CHICAGO to present temporary public art installations along the lakefront and throughout Chicago neighborhoods. One of the works featured in IN/SITU Outside is Ewerdt Hilgemann’s “Habakuk (Home to Max Ernst).” The piece consists of welded stainless steel plates that are divided into three parts. What is special about this work is that Hilgemann created a technique that causes his works to “implode”. After the steel plates are welded together, Hilgemann uses a vacuum pump to pull out remaining air, putting natural atmospheric pressure to sculptural use. In this way the artwork is collapsed into its final unique shape.
Ewerdt Hilgemann (1938) was born in Witten, Germany and after briefly studying at the Westfälische Wilhelms-University in Münster, he attended Werkkunstschule and the University of Saarland in Saarbrücken. In the 1960’s he had residencies at Kätelhöhn Printers in Wamel, Asterstein in Koblenz and Halfmannshof in Gelsenkirchen, Western Germany, and started to exhibit his work across Europe before moving to Gorinchem, the Netherlands in 1970. From 1977 to 1998 Hilgemann taught Concept Development at the Sculpture Department of Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam.
From the moment he started, elementary research has characterized Ewerdt Hilgemann’s work. After experiments with subtle, white wooden wall pieces catching light in the 1960s, he turned into a conceptual sculptor, using natural stone, as well as steel, geometrical shapes in series: positive versus negative. In 1980 he introduced randomness and natural powers into his working method. Much to his surprise, he found that the unpredictable is also subject to natural laws, a discovery to which he soon could adapt and anticipate. The air, which is powerful and capable of pressure, is the force that has become Hilgemann’s favorite tool. Hilgemann’s work is in public and private collections worldwide.