Ewerdt Hilgemann, Jeroen Jongeleen

Rolling Cube

Every landscape, square or park bears the traces of its history and how we deal with it. Sometimes they were marked by battles, disasters or floods, but everyone also knows the paths, the gaps in hedges and the homemade bridges spontaneously created by the people passing by. They often form new details that provide rigidly intended designs with a certain lived-in quality and poetry. It is the materializations of uses and experiences of people that make the public domain their own.

However, the definition and role of public space is constantly changing. During the last few decades, its accessibility and design have become increasingly subject to regulation and direction. Cameras, neighborhood watches and even private initiatives monitor its use, and the continuous presence of smartphones, provides a permanent record of what happens in the public environment. At the same time, the exact same means are blurring the line between public and private. Living room secrets sometimes literally hit the streets through social media, and highly personal issues are eagerly shared with a large group of unknown observers. While organized interest groups continue to conquer the streets with actions and demonstrations, people also often wage their "own battles" on the Internet with harsh and often ill-considered opinions shared on any forum, even on personal pages. Thus everything becomes public and at the same time everything becomes personal.

In his art practice, Jeroen Jongeleen (Apeldoorn, 1967) investigates precisely the contradictions and tensions that arise from this phenomenon. With his textual art, land art and conceptual works, he confronts the public in the street and in the exhibition space with the elasticity and limitations of the concept of public space. One of his land art projects consists of circles that he draws while walking in fields, parks and even on buildings. They create an enchanting image that on the one hand teaches us to look at the artist's direct impact, but on the other hand also shows the richness and history of the chosen landscape.

On May 10, 2022, the Kröller-Müller Museum purchased six works by Jeroen Jongeleen with funds from the newly established Hilgemann Fund. With this fund, Ewerdt Hilgemann (b. 1938, Witten) wants to 'give something back' for the rich career he himself has had. Collaboration with other artists has always played an important role for him, as it did for his wife Antoinette de Stigter, who in 1989 founded Art Affairs, a gallery in Amsterdam specializing in international modern art with a strong conceptual slant. Jongeleen is lauded by Hilgemann as a creator of idiosyncratic sculpture.

The Rolling Cube exhibition features five video works by Jongeleen and four recent works by Hilgemann. In addition, Hilgemann's performance Spiral of conflict (2022, Antwerp) and his action "Rolling Cube" (1982, Carrara) will also be shown on video. Hilgemann's imploded sculptures are part of a body of work that has been developing since the late 1950s. Both the action in Carrara and the performance in Antwerp have in part to do with coming to terms with the trauma of war. Indeed, Hilgemann makes sculptures with their own history, a personal "walk of life" that transforms a destructive force into a creative one. We see that same creative force in the selection by Jongeleen, who for this exhibition selected a series of videos made in landscapes scarred by war. Craters, bunkers, cemeteries and traces of trenches are the witnesses of a past that has since given way again to the rhythm of nature and agriculture.

This duo exhibition has come about through the good collaborations with Ewerdt Hilgemann in the past and the contacts that resulted from them. The establishment of the Hilgemann Fund is an important aspect of this. Thus, the expo is also about mentorship and connection.

Artists: Ewerdt Hilgemann, Jeroen Jongeleen

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