Born in 1936, Eva Hesse was one of the icons of American art in the 1960s, her work being a major influence on subsequent generations of artists. Comprehensive solo exhibitions in the past 30 years as well as a retrospective that toured from the San Francisco MoMA to the Museum Wiesbaden and finally to the Tate Modern in London, have highlighted the lasting interest that her oeuvre has generated. Hesse cultivated mistakes and surprises, precariousness and enigma, in an effort to make works that could transcend literal associations. The objects she produced, at once humble and enormously charismatic, came to play a central role in the transformation of contemporary art practice.Read More
In New York in the 1960s, Hesse was among a group of artists, including Robert Morris, Bruce Nauman, Richard Serra and Robert Smithson, who engaged materials that were originally soft and flexible: aluminium, latex rubber, plastic, lead, polythene, copper, felt, chicken-wire, dirt, sawdust, paper pulp and glue. Often unstable, these elements yielded works forever alive in their relativity and mutability. Hesse was aware she produced objects that were ephemeral, but this problem was of less concern to her than the desire to exploit materials with a temporal dimension. Much of the tumescent, life-affirming power of Hesse’s art derives from this confident embrace of moment. As she stated in an interview with Cindy Nemser in 1970, ‘Life doesn’t last; art doesn’t last.’
Text courtesy Hauser & Wirth.
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