Eva Hesse One More than One
Author: Renate Petzinger and Hubertus Gassner
Publisher/Date: Hatje Cantz (c. 2014) Published on the occasion of the exhibition. Bilingual edition: English and German
Format/Condition: New paperback book in Fine condition. Dimensions: 7 x 10 x 1 inches. Illustrated in duo-tones and some color.
The text is in English and German
Description: Eva Hesse (1936–1970) was one of the foremost women artists of the twentieth century. From November 2013 to March 2014, the Hamburger Kunsthalle presented the first solo exhibition of Hesse’s work in her native city. Her artistic practice combined the seriality and reduction of 1960s Minimalism with emotion, sensuousness and physicality, while the transparency and transience of her unconventional materials also contributed greatly to her unique position in the art world of her day. Influenced by the emerging Minimal Art movement, Hesse developed an interest in serial processes and reduction, but in her own work these were accompanied by sensuous materiality and physicality. Her sculptures, which are now in the permanent collections of leading international museums, incorporate many different (and sometimes contrasting) elements. In Hesse’s drawings, too, a playful sense of rhythm and the juxtaposition of factors such as order and chaos, control and dynamism, precision and chance are key aspects.
Hesse emigrated with her family via the Netherlands and England to the United States in 1938. They settled in New York City, where she later studied painting at the Cooper Union School of Art from 1954 to 1957, and then continued her studies in the master class of Josef Albers at the Yale School of Art and Architecture from 1957 to 1959. At the invitation of Friedrich Arnhard Scheidt, a German industrialist and art collector, and his wife Isabel, Hesse and her husband Tom Doyle spent a year in Kettwig an der Ruhr during 1964–1965. This period is regarded as a turning point in Hesse’s artistic practice. Drawing inspiration from the materials she found in an abandoned textile factory in Kettwig, she made her first three-dimensional artworks, and when she returned to New York she devoted herself exclusively to sculpture, creating fragile works in unconventional materials such as polyester, fiberglass and latex.
The exhibition of around 50 sculptures and drawings concentrates on the latter part of Hesse’s career, a highly productive period from 1966 until her early death in 1970 at the early age of just 34. During this time she created a substantial number of sculptures and drawings. The exhibition featured many late works by Hesse that have never or only rarely been shown in Germany. These include key sculptural pieces such as the five-part work Sans II (1968), Repetition Nineteen (1968) and Accession (1968), and drawings such as the minimalist Grid Drawings, the repetitive Circle Drawings and the late, very painterly Window Drawings, which Hesse herself described as “paper paintings”.