The indictment of "Panta Rhei," Ewerdt Hilgemann’s exhibition at the Samuel Freeman Gallery is that it’s anachronistic.
These geometric shaped, stainless steel sculptures look modern, feel modern, and respond to modernist assumptions of geometry and thing-ness, materiality and immanence, technology and progress. So does his cheeky gesture of imploding them so they look like deflated balloons. In Claes Oldenburg fashion, it’s as if the artist, said “Fuck this Modernist paradigm, fuck Richard Serra.” These alleged desecrations of urban Steelhenges could conceivably be construed as iconoclastic and irreverent.
The problem is, the Modernism paradigm has by all accounts expired. We don’t live in a modern era anymore. Thus, the significance of the work is not so much in its humor as in one’s interest in finding the connector that would attach to the nozzle that would attach to the vacuum pump that sucked the air out of these fabricated, now-nostalgic paens to a bygone, idealistic era.
In the Sixties, in the Seventies, this would have been a hilarious (and relevant) exhibition: assumptions would have been turned upside down, paradigms would have been mocked. Now it’s like listening to Tony Bennett croon “The glory that was Rome is of another day” and wishing you were in San Francisco.
Gallery hours are Tuesday - Saturday, 11am-6pm. The show runs until September 10th through October 23. The Gallery is located in Bergamot Station at 2525 Michigan Ave, Suite B7, Santa Monica. For more information visit www.samuelfreeman.com or call (310) 449-1479.