Born in Wuppertal, Germany, Anke Eilegerhard creates beguilingly hypnotic sculptures that stimulate not only sight, but also our sense of touch, taste, and smell. A painter by training, Eilergerhard began creating sculptures in silicone in 2004. Her applied interest in the tactile properties of materials has been at the forefront of her practice since early in her career, when she showed her paintings, which featured floral excrescences that extended outside the limits of the framing, in textured frames.
Anke Eilergerhard’s silicone works are created with silicone and a piping bag— a tool conventionally used to decorate pastries. Drawing on pastry decorating techniques as a source of motif, Eilergerhard’s works burrow from traditions of Pop Art by placing formal beauty and everyday objects on equal playing field. The exactitude and preponderance of repetitive motifs reflects the artist’s particular fascination with sensorial pleasures. The exactitude of their creation and the meticulous accumulation of these silicone “whirlpools of whipped cream” give Eilergerhard’s sculptures a structured and controlled appearance. The superimposition of layers, and in some cases objects, gives a monumental, almost totemic character to the sculptures. With their textured surfaces, Eilergerhard’s sculptures stimulate our senses; all at once, taste, smell and touch, rendering the task of resisting the desire to touch the sculptures almost impossible. Sense and sensuality, are at the root of these complex constructions, they have a bewilderingly haptic quality. Despite their static nature, her series Crowns almost appear to quiver; a subtle sexual quality seems to be emitted. The phallic prominences at the centre of these crowns evoke movement: an unfurling or embedding within the depths of the structure, depending on the work.
Both the aestheticism of Eilergerhard’s works and the themes they engage inscribe themselves within a feminist discourse. The artist appropriates a meticulous technique of cake decorating while rejecting the universe of the kitchen - traditionally associated with the female gender, while achieving a more than perfect mastery of a technique that many may dismiss as a recreational pass-time acting as a testament to leisure. Her works propose a reflection on beauty and all it encompasses: desire, love, luxury, lust, excess, decadence, etc. Her sculptures expose the fleeting, ephemeral character of beauty and maintain a focus on the ambivalent dynamics of elegance – the disequilibrium and movement immortalized by a snapshot. Eilergerhard personifies these sculptures with the help of formal suggestions and gender-specific designators. Her works are playful and sensual, presenting themselves to the viewer in resplendent, curving forms that recall the voluptuous curves of a woman’s body. Eilergerhard says, "The detail of the whipped cream for me is the perfect shape and a piece of heaven on earth". Her sculptures are exhibited and collected around the world, she recently won the art silicone Tempelhof-Schönberger-Berlin Art Prize, and in 2017 she launched a collaboration entitled "Sweet Dream" with international fashion house FENDI.