Imploded Sculptures on Park Avenue

Seven stainless steel sculptures by Amsterdam-based German artist Ewerdt Hilgemann landed last week on New York’s Park Avenue. Entitled “Moments in a Stream,” the installation parades along the avenue in seven locations, from 52nd to 67th Streets, with large-scale pieces—some in groups of two or more—placed on grassy medians. They were created especially for Park Avenue using a vacuum process, which “implodes” geometric shapes and causes the material to deform according to natural laws. A+A recently interviewed the artist via email:

Your background as a sculptor?

After a humanistic education with Latin and Greek and a short time at the university taking various classes, I decided to go my own singular way as an artist. I also wanted to get away from World War II German history. I went to art school in Saarbrücken, at that time the capital of the independent country called Saarland, later to be merged with Germany.

How did this project on Park Avenue come about?

Members of the Park Avenue Sculpture Committee had spotted my work on an art fair in New York, after which I was invited to make a proposal for an exhibition on Park Avenue. The proposal was accepted unanimously and I started production, which took me three years. Not only the physical production of the work, but also the funding – which had to be arranged through the artist’s network – took a lot of time.

What is the material?

Basically, the material is stainless steel, with the exception of one (the Dancers), where a stainless column is juxtaposed to a weathering steel one (Corten).

Their forms and size?

They range from a group of four, called Flower, a group of three, called Threesome, Triple, Double, Dancers, Cube, to Habakkuk, a triple cube (multilayered). Sizes range from eight to 20 ft.

The intent of this work?

The symbolic value of the work is the struggle between intelligence, man-made structures (building, urban organization, etc.) the power of nature and unpredictable influences on life’s course. In my sculptures I follow the same procedure, making geometrical shapes in stainless steel, which are then put to be influenced by a natural power, i.e. the air pressure that surrounds us. Premeditating on this power, I vary the sizes, experimenting and setting the rules for “chance “to have its way.

Your inspiration for this project?

New York and its buildings, its people and its stimulating rhythm.

How did the environment drive their design?

I chose tall pieces relating to the high-rise buildings, standing up to the challenge of scale.

How does the human form interact with them?

These are mathematical pieces at the start, but by implosion transform into creatures one could imagine as human beings or strange animals.  Most of them get names or nicknames after completion.

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