JERSEY CITY, NJ, December 15, 2015—Mana Contemporary is pleased to present Panta Rhei, an exhibition of German artist Ewerdt Hilgemann’s imploded sculptures. Installed outside the Mana Glass Gallery and in front of the building’s lobby, the large, crushed volumes reflect a delicate brutality. Each airtight volume is made of welded, polished sheets of stainless steel, which Hilgemann manipulates using a vacuum pump that removes the air from the form’s interior. The pressure forces the sculpture to randomly compress and fold, resulting in a multi-faceted structure that is at once mangled and smooth.
The Amsterdam-based artist developed his implosion technique in the 1980s, after extensive experimentation with natural phenomena like gravity and explosives. Today, he refers to himself as an “airsmith”—a term borrowed from a critic that recognizes the substance of air as each piece’s co-creator. His work is heavily influenced by Oskar Holweck, who taught Hilgemann during his time at Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany and co-founded Germany’s ZERO movement, a brand of the postwar avant-garde that embraced renewal and clarity.
Panta Rhei exemplifies to Hilgemann’s deconstructive approach to sculpture. Filled with fragmented distortions of once-perfect geometric forms, the exhibition addresses both sides of dualities and extremes. The objects on view speak to both the industrial landscape of Hilgemann’s youth as well as America’s current post-industrial state: a shiny facade sharply collapsing from within.
About Ewerdt Hilgemann
Ewerdt Hilgemann (b. 1938, Witten, Germany) lives and works in Amsterdam. He studied art at Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany under Oskar Holweck, a co-found- er of the ZERO group and long-time influence on his work. Hilgemann began experimenting with chance and intention in his Random Sculptures in 1980 and Rolling Cube in 1982, where he spent six weeks polishing a five-foot-tall marble block then rolled it down a mountainside as a means to shape the material. In 1985 he started vacuuming air out of large, hollow steel volumes using water or pumps, a technique used to create his so-called “implosion” sculptures. Hilgemann’s work has been exhibited international- ly and is part of the permanent collections of the Istanbul Contemporary Art Museum and Museum für Konkrete Kunst, among others. He is represented by Magnan Metz Gallery in New York.
About Mana Contemporary
Founded in 2011, Mana Contemporary is a leading arts destination dedicated to celebrating the creative process. Headquartered in a former tobacco warehouse in Jersey City, Mana unites artists’ studios, exhibition spaces, and ancillary services in a single location, facilitating conversation and collaboration among its burgeoning creative community. Together with its sister campuses in Chicago and Miami, Mana serves as a lively center for all members of the art world. Visitors receive unparalleled access to a range of art-making techniques and presentations first- hand. A transparent, comprehensive hub of creativity, Mana offers a profound, personal approach to contemporary art. Mana Contemporary is home to the Richard Meier Model Museum, Gary Lichtenstein Editions, Eileen S. Kaminsky Family Foundation, Armitage Gone! Dance, Keating Foundry, The Florence Academy of Art, Shen Wei Dance Arts, and many others.