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Hilgemann at EUREF Campus
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posted: August 11, 2021

ID P03406

The so-called Rote Insel in Berlin Schöneberg, surrounded by three railway lines, is increasingly becoming the scene of several important settlements. Visible from afar, the gasometer points to the EUREF campus, where the European Energy Forum has been providing answers to questions about the energy transition since 2008. Over 150 companies with 5,000 employees have already settled on the 5.5 hectare compound.

The existing buildings were renovated and modernized, and six new building complexes have been added, not off the shelf, but each an architectural eye-catcher equipped with the latest environmentally friendly technology. That's not all. The EUREF-Campus has also developed into a gastronomic hotspot in the area. Six restaurants have settled here. From 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. they offer from currywurst through pizza to sushi, vegetarian and high-end grilled food, everything your heart and hungry stomach desires.

From the very beginning, EUREF's CEO Reinhard Müller focused his attention on the art in and around the buildings. Works by well-known and important artists hang or stand all over the campus. Since the beginning of this week, visitors to the entrance at Torgauer Strasse are being welcomed by a six-meter-high, 4400 lbs in weight, sculpture made of three millimeters of the finest steel and made up of three parts. The artist Ewerdt Hilgemann, who lives in the Netherlands, traveled to Berlin with his wife, the gallery owner Antoinette de Stigter, to supervise the installation of this “Threesome” sculpture. For the picture, the 83-year-old bravely climbed a ladder and stood on the pedestal.

The story behind all this is exciting. In 1996 Reinhard Müller met Ewerdt Hilgemann and Antoinette de Stigter and has been friends with them ever since. The Park Avenue Sculpture Committee of New York City invited Hilgemann to exhibit seven sculptures in 2014, consisting of 13 individual works, placed along the beautiful Boulevard for three months. During this time, Müller visited the Big Apple.

He saw "Threesome" on the median of Park Avenue, picked up the phone, called Hilgemann and bought the work from him. Before the sculpture arrived in Berlin, it took a little trip around the world. Transport alone is an adventure. Two low loaders arrived on June 14th to bring the sculpture to the EUREF campus, on which another sculpture by Hilgemann has been standing for a while already: '4 parts of a cube', 1995.

The most important question in the conversation I had for the great living sculptor was how the shapes of the work come about.

Hilgemann spent half his life studying how to deform matter with simple means. To do this, he used techniques that would have been a lot of fun for any young person. He used gunpowder and detonated large chunks of stone or threw blocks from high-rise buildings or rolled them down a mountain. His stainless steel cubes are probably the most known works, as they can be found all over the world.


For example the one in front of the Investitionsbank Berlin (IBB) at Bundesallee, for over 20 years.

But how do the folds get into the steel body? First, the sides, upper and lower parts are welded together made airtight with a special laser technology. It is not as ignorant reporters imagine that the artist then uses a rubber mallet to knock the folds into the steel body. It's a lot more spectacular. A valve is installed at one point and the air is extracted. It takes around 90 minutes to vacuum. In the meantime, the folds form, as if by magic. The final shape cannot be foreseen down to the last detail, but Hilgemann has many years of experience in order to be able to recognize how the cube will deform.

The conversation with Ewerdt Hilgemann was extremely inspiring and at no point he got out of breath. Of course, the 83-year-old is not thinking of quitting. This week he is traveling to Thuringia to start a new project there, a cube that he cuts diagonally to make it accessible. The sparkle in his eyes showed that we still have a lot to expect from him. For Reinhard Müller, the EUREF-Campus art location is not yet complete either. He wants to create a place here where young and established artists can present themselves. Guided tours are being planned in which the works will be explained.

Ewerdt Hilgemann

Born in Witten in 1938, is a German-Dutch artist who is best known for his so-called implosions. (details taken from Wikipedia)

Article compilation and commentary in German by: Ed Koch ( June 17, 2021)

Article translation in English by: Art Affairs BV (
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