Thursday, January 16, 2014


google image for education only
eva hesse
Eva Hesse was a well known German-Jewish American born artist who was a leader in   using  plastics, latex and fiberglass  sculpture. The exposure to the harsh chemicals, that  are now considered cancer causing,
 led to an early death at the age of 34.  Her career only lasted 10 years. 
She was born in 1936 in Hamburg, Germany.  Her parents sought to escape Nazi Germany to the Netherlands, then to England and then to the United States.  Her parents divorced and her Mother committed suicide a year later in 1946 when Eva was only 10 years old.  Eva would go on to study at Pratt, Cooper Union, Yale and The Artists Student League. 

EVA HESSE                                     from google image for education only
(Her art is often viewed in light of all the painful struggles of her life including escaping the Nazis, her parents divorce, the suicide of her Mother when she was ten, her failed marriage, and the death of her Father. Danto describes her as "coping" with emotional chaos by reinventing sculpture through her aesthetic subordination, playing with worthless material amid the industrial ruins of a defeated nation that, only tow decades earlier, would have murdered her without a second thought. She always felt she was fighting for recognition in a make dominated world. Hesse is one of a few artist who led the move from Minimalism to Postminimalism.  Danto distinguishes it from minimalism by its "mirth and jokiness" and "unmistakable whiff of eroticism"…she was influenced by, and in turn influenced, many famous artists of the 1960's through today.  For many and friends who knew her, Eva Hesse was so charismatic that her spirit remains simply unforgettable to this day.) quoted from Wikipedia biography of Eva Hesse

I am not sure where I first saw Eva Hesse's art work, but I do know I was enamored from the first.  I had never seen such experimental use of new materials of the day.  It was art and sculpture as I had never seen the like before. I think in some respects her pioneering experimentation gave me permission to step away from traditional sculpture…that it might be possible to do sculpture with any material from any source. I am sure her story and the drama of her life was appealing, but I did not learn that until much later.

 She is one of these ethereal influences that just seem to live on after their time into the future. I know my friends who love realism and art they can understand will question Eva's art, but when someone starts a movement or invents the use of materials in art it is like Edison inventing the lightbulb or Einstein the theory of relativity.  They saw a vision, broke the mold, and led the way to a new understanding of what is possible. Eva did that, and it is one of the reasons her art and memory live on today.
EVA HESSE     SCULPTURE                                     from google image for education only

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