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General information | Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mondays closed. Library: From Tuesday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Admission by appointment. General entrance: 7 €; Reduced entrance: 5.60 €; Friends of Fundació Antoni Tàpies, free. Further information and bookings at: Eva Hesse Studiowork No title (S-93), 1967 Works by Eva Hesse: © The Estate of Eva Hesse (Courtesy Hauser & Wirth), 2010 Sponsors With the collaboration of: With the sponsoring of: With the
  EvaHesseStudiowork 14 May – 1 August 2010 General information | Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mondays closed. Library: From Tuesday toFriday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Admission by appointment. General entrance: 7 € ; Reduced entrance: 5.60 € ;Friends of Fundació Antoni Tàpies, free. Further information and bookings at: Withthesponsoring of:SponsorsWiththecollaborationof:Withthesupport of: CÀTEDRA D’ARTI CULTURACONTEMPORANIS - UDG Organised by:With the collaboration of: N  o t  i   t  l   e  (   S - 9  3  )   ,1   9  6 7 W or k  s  b  y E  v  aH  e s  s  e:   ©  T h  eE  s  t   a t   e of  E  v  aH  e s  s  e (   C  o ur  t   e s  y H  a u s  er  & Wi  r  t  h  )   ,2  0 1   0   Alongside her large-scale sculptures, the American artistEva Hesse produced a great many small experimental worksin a remarkably unusual range of materials, including latex,breglass, wire-mesh, cheesecloth, masking tape and wax.These small works have often been called ‘test-pieces’, onthe assumption that they were made to test out materialsand techniques in preparation for other more ambitiouswork. However, it is clear that they were rarely only techni-cal experiments. The studioworks show Eva Hesse’s radi-cally innovative use of materials, but they also demonstrate– as a collection-in-miniature of her working methods –her radical transformation of sculpture at a time when thevery nature of the art object itself was in crisis. As much asother seminal artists of the 1960s such as Andy Warhol orDonald Judd, Eva Hesse redened the nature of the aestheticencounter in a way that still has repercussions for us toda y. Eva Hesse lying on daybed, c. 1968-69. Photo by Herman Landshoff  Eva Hesse’s career was abruptly cut short by her tragic death of a brain tumour inMay 1970 at the age of 34. She left a studio full of work, both nished and unn-ished, as well as many smaller studioworks. In 1979, a large group of these smallerpieces was given by Hesse’s sister, Helen Hesse Charash, to the Berkeley Museumof Art. Others had been given away by the artist herself during her lifetime as giftsto friends such as fellow artist Sol LeWitt. Still more, notably the group of papier-mâché shapes shown in public for the very rst time in this exhibition, were simplystored away after her death. The studioworks are made the focus of this exhibition,bringing them back together from diverse collections and placing them in thecontext of some of her larger pieces.Hesse’s intense artistic career spanned just ten years in total, but her output hasproven to be of crucial importance to the history of twentieth century art. Eva Hessebegan as a painter in 1960, having studied at Yale, and only later turned to sculpture.It was in 1965, during a year spent in Germany with her then husband, the sculptorTom Doyle, that she started to make three dimensional work. At rst these werehighly coloured reliefs, made of shapes that resembled weirdly textured body-parts– breasts, nipples, penises – combined together to look like wildly dysfunctionalerotic machines. Her studio in the German town of Kettwig was in an old disusedtextile factory where she found abandoned bits of machinery that she combinedwith string and papier-mâché.By the time she returned to New York after a year in Europe her work had transformed:it was now strongly sculptural, even when it hung on the wall. Works that were attachedto the wall like a picture instead behaved, or rather misbehaved, as if they were somany part-objects, with palpable textures, pendulous shapes and quirky protrusions.In their visceral as well as sometimes comic effects, these objects seemed very farremoved from the smooth contemporary nishes of Minimalism. Like a return of thehidden, Hesse brought the sensual bodily qualities of art back into play.In September 1967 Eva Hesse rst began to use latex, which she bought in liquid formfrom a supplier on Canal Street in Lower Manhattan. Shortly afterwards she startedto experiment with breglass. These were synthetic materials. But rather than suggesttechnological or industrial surfaces, Hesse used them to map a radically differentbodily topography. Hesse’s work is full of allusions to the body without being a conven-tional depiction of the body. More and more, as she discovered new materials, sherelied on their often bizarre and sensual effects to make the sexual reference for her,rather than incorporate recognisable body-shapes. Although her work is often charac-terised as ‘organic’ in opposition to the ‘geometric’ vocabulary of the Minimalists, infact her work tends to disallow straightforward oppositions of this kind – preferring towork with shapes and structures that were both organic and geometric at the sametime – as if art were a way of making a contradiction in terms into a material thing. EvaHesse. Studiowork The term ‘test-piece’ was not one that Hesse herself used to describe her small experi-mental works. If anything, in her notes, she referred to ‘samples’. The term ‘test-piece’got attached to them after her death, partly by default. It was – like ‘prototype’ – anexpression of the times, revealing a desire to link art with the language of industry.This was a time when artists often had work made by fabricators to their specication,when art was divested of the aura of the individual expressive trace of the artist’s No title (S-124), 1968. University of California, Berkeley Art Museum & Pacic Film Archive (gift of Helen HesseCharash, 1979). Photo: Ben Blackwell, Alameda, CA. No title (S-89), 1968. Mr. and Mrs. Ronald B. Lynn, Westwood.Photo: Abby Robinson, New York Briony Fer  clearer. So something that initially looks like a piece of studio debris can come intobeing as an object as you look at it. The studiowork is at that tipping point betweensrcin and leftover.There is a photograph of a table in Hesse’s apartment that shows some of the studio-works scattered across the surface strewn with other ephemera, including reviews ofher own show at the Fischbach Gallery in 1968, yers and leaets for shows by herartist-friends like Carl Andre and Ruth Vollmer, and much else. This photo was actu-ally taken by her friend the artist Mel Bochner as part of an unnished series of pho-tographs of artist’s work tables – which tted with Bochner’s own interest in ‘workingdrawings’ and what he called the ‘upstream of art’ – that is, the work that went intothe artwork. Seen from this pointof view, the photograph is muchmore than simply a documentof Hesse’s table. It is itself a workthat is comparable to Hesse’sstudiowork: a work about makingwork. Hesse’s table was madefor her by Sol LeWitt and had agrey grid painted on it. The stuffof art and life that is scatteredacross it plays out a dynamicof order and accident that char-acterises all her work.Of course it is possible to trace links between the studioworks and Hesse’s large-scale works, but this can all too easily explain them away. They can also be thoughtof in relation to her continuous process of drawing – a practice she maintainedthroughout her career. This exhibition aims to focus on the studiowork as a group ofmaterial objects that deserve attention in their own right, rather than as subsidiaryto some other aspect of her work. As such, they reect her working process, runningthe gamut between small works, models, samples, partial works, spare parts, trials,fragments, to abandoned bits and pieces. They fall somewhere beneath the thresholdof sculpture as it is usually understood. And yet they have the materiality that wetouch. Hesse carried on making smaller objects herself but, like so many artists atthis time, used fabricators and assistants to make the large-scale pieces. But the term‘test-piece’ arguably links her work too much with the technophilia then prevalent,and not enough with its sheercorporeality and bodily associa-tions. The renaming ‘studiowork’coined in the title of this exhibitionis intended as a more elastic termto describe this deeply enigmaticrange of objects, which are neitherpurely technical experiments nornecessarily nished pieces in theirown right. They are liminal, fallingsomewhere between the two andresisting easy categorisation.The status of the studiowork isprecarious. A reasonable denitionmight be that studiowork is workwithout necessarily becoming ‘awork’. These are things made byHesse on a daily basis, handmadeand often intricate objects thatinvite us to think not only about theprocesses of art but what impulses– both conscious and unconscious – drive the making of art. It might even be thatmaking small things like this in the studio not only provides a way of working thingsout, of thinking through making, but even prolongs the process of making – deferringan end product in favour of process. The compulsive desire to repeat is evident inmuch of the studiowork and the techniques deployed by the artist, like threading,folding, cutting, piercing and winding, are often based on repetitive actions and ges-tures. Looking at the objects is also to see these actions unfolding. Something thatinitially seems almost accidental and throwaway, like an oddly shaped piece of latex,takes time to look at – and as you look, the gestures that went into making it become No title (S-112), 1968. Private Collection. Photo: Ed Restle,courtesy Museum Wiesbaden Eva Hesse table, c. 1968-1969. Photo by Mel Bochner
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