Rational Beauty

Eva Hild

When my eyes glide across Eva Hild’s astonishing ceramic sculptures, I feel a rush akin to being on a roller-coaster. The rise and fall of the paper-thin oversize forms, the swaying undulating waves that appear to be breathing— it’s a truly exhilarating experience. Needless to say, I enjoy the ride.

Hild’s work is hand-built and is made primarily from clay with a minimal color palette. “I try to relate my work to my life,” says the Swedish-born artist. “What is happening and how does it feel? Pressure. Slow. Strain. Ramification. Inside turn outside. As a starting point, I put words onto my feelings, and use the vessel form to translate this into three dimensions. The size of the form relates to my body. The thin walls are pulled and bent in different directions.”

Experience these poetically sinuous pieces yourself at Nancy Margolis Gallery in Manhattan. Here’s my Q&A with the enchanting and talented Eva Hild.

Job description: Shaping my life as a sculptor. Mostly and originally in clay but nowadays in any material that seems to be interesting, appropriate, possible and challenging. I work with the relation between inner and outer worlds, mind and matter, volumes and mass.

Why do you do what you do? I am interested in materials, shapes and the way objects could tell stories about life. I love to work with my hands and body. After a short period as a physiotherapist and ideas about being a physician, I throw myself happily (zestfully, with confidence) into the art-world. Clay was a good starter; non-exclusive and almost infinite possibilities. I tried everything during my first years at the art-university, but as time passed my aim was to really find my own path. I found a track in my inner landscapes, and I still follow.

How do you break through a creative block? My work is very time-consuming and I think I break any block by patience, endurance and hard work. On the other hand, this could also be the block; being stucked in the material, the extended time and the on-going process. I need periods of less dirty hands, and more intellectual work. I need to step back, reflect over and formulate my themes, get impressions from the outer world. My work is a flow, very much connected to my life. I am interested in this slow development. I try to be true and consistent, but also curious and struggle to reach new viewpoints.

Education: University of Design and Crafts in Gothenburg, Sweden. And by learning the hard way: mistakes always take you further...

Mentors: A lot of people in different positions and professions has been important in my artistic life. For example a supportive husband. 

World-saving mission: Try your best (but do not be too harsh on yourself…).

Studio chair: Wood and metal from the 50s, from my grandfathers studio (rural painter).

Studio Soundtrack: P1 (talking, educational radio channel).

Most useful tool: My metal kidney.

Favorite space: Except my studio: In the airy forest, where the trees are high as in a colonnade hall, and the ground is covered with moss.

Favorite design object: Citroën 2CV

Guilty Pleasure: Picking the best parts of the muesli...

Underrated: Good and sustainable choices. Less is more.

Overrated: Quick fixes.

What did you learn the hard way? How to transform one of my ceramic pieces into a bigger scale, in stainless steel…

Has your work ever got you into trouble? Things could go wrong (stainless steel sculptures can rust) and I could feel troubled, but most things finally get solved, one way or another. I really appreciate good co-workers and learning things. Experience gives confidence. Working with fragile materials in a 3-dimensional way always contains a risk; how to handle, ship and maintain? And at the same time: that is part of the content, expression and challenge.

If you could cross over into other profession… what would you do? I have already changed direction in my professional life; now I really look forward to explore and broaden the horizons in this area.

Dream project: An architectural big piece, performed in a super sustainable material with a team of professionals. To be able to experience the inner world in an outer world scale...This makes me think of another possible favorite space, where I have not been yet (on my wish-list): Cloud Gate of Anish Kapoor in Chicago Millennium Park.

Where’s home? Where I keep my collection of wool sweaters, rubber boots and parkas…

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“Pressure. Slow. Strain. Ramification. Inside turn outside. As a starting point, I put words onto my feelings, and use the vessel form to translate this into three dimensions. The size of the form relates to my body. The thin walls are pulled and bent in different directions.”
—Eva Hild

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