The German-born, American artist Eva Hesse (1936-1970) played a central role in the radical transformation of sculptural practice in the 1960s, using unconventional materials to create expressive works suggestive of the body and emotions. Throughout her career, Hesse produced a large number of small, experimental works alongside her large-scale sculpture. These objects, so-called test pieces, were made in a wide range of materials, including latex, wire-mesh, sculp-metal, wax and cheesecloth. Left in her studio at the time of her death, sold or given to friends during her lifetime, these objects evade easy definition, seen variously as experiments, little pieces, moulds, tests or finished pieces.
In her recent research on Hesse’s work, Briony Fer collectively renamed these objects as studioworks, proposing that their precarious nature places them at the heart of Hesse’s work and questions traditional notions of what sculpture is.
This exhibition brings together around fifty works drawn from major public and private collections around the world, showing works which are extremely fragile and rarely travel. The exhibition and the accompanying major publication offer a timely new interpretation of Hesse’s historical position, as well as highlighting her relevance for contemporary art now.
Eva Hesse: Studiowork is the result of new research by renowned Hesse scholar Professor Briony Fer and is curated by Fer and Barry Rosen, Director of The Estate of Eva Hesse. It has been organised by The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh in collaboration with Camden Arts Centre, London; Fundacio Antoni Tapies, Barcelona; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto and Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.
Supported by The Foyle Foundation, Columbia Foundation Fund of the Capital Community Foundation, Mike Davies Charitable Settlement, Brian Boylan and Cathy Wills.