Sculptures Naturally Deformed Using Atmospheric Pressure

Arts & Culture

Artist Ewerdt Hilgemann is launching a unique art installation on Park Avenue in New York this summer

Emma Hutchings
  • 23 july 2014

Amsterdam-based German artist Ewerdt Hilgemann‘s upcoming art installation will be launched on Park Avenue in New York on August 1. “Moments in a Stream” is a series of seven stainless steel sculptures, which will be located from 52nd Street to 67th Street on the grassy medians. The sculptures range from eight to twenty feet in height and were created specially for this installation using a unique vacuum process that “implodes” geometric shapes causing the material to deform.

The installation showcases how sculptures can be formed using atmospheric pressure and the massive stainless steel creations exemplify a unique shape. Hilgemann developed his method in the early 1980s after experimenting with white wooden wall pieces that captured light, influenced by the ZERO movement.

Hilgemann’s “implosion“ process starts by fabricating geometrically pure stainless steel forms, which are meticulously welded and polished to satin gloss. After the pieces are complete, the air is slowly pulled out with a vacuum pump, putting the natural atmospheric pressure to sculptural use and collapsing the forms into their final shape. Each piece acquires individual character, demonstrating the unexpected and striking possibilities of the material.


Hilgemann says that his implosion technique “represents the inward spiral energy to reach the core and mystery of matter, the ultimate beauty of creation.” The artist’s Park Avenue installation coincides with a large-scale survey in the U.S. dedicated to the history of the German artist group ZERO. As a student of Oskar Holweck, one of the early co-founders of the group, Hilgemann was directly influenced by their approach and vision, particularly their interest in movement and light as artistic media.

The “Moments in a Stream” installation will be accompanied by an exhibition of Hilgemann’s work at Magnan Metz Gallery, ‘FreezeFrame’, on view from August 7th-21st. In two rooms, the exhibition will feature models of all seven sculptures from the Park Avenue series alongside new work created especially for the exhibition, as well as a video demonstrating the artist’s process. You can check out some of Hilgemann’s previous work in the video above.

Ewerdt Hilgemann


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