1966 Paint, papier-caché, wood shavings, unknown modeling compound, wood, rubber 22.9 x 22.9 x 2.5 cm / 9 x 9 x 1 in Plate: 22.9 x 22.9 x 2.5 cm/ 9 x 9 x 1 in Tubing: 229 cm / 90 in Installation variable
Working with a Minimalist vocabulary of industrial materials and serial repetition, Eva Hesse took great pleasure in the violation of those media and systems, often to visually and existentially absurd ends. By introducing or allowing for the development of rough edges, chance groupings, and the clash of smooth exteriors and irregular interiors, Hesse was able to expand the possibilities of abstract sculpture while registering the expressive barometers of the body and the mind.
Eva Hesse's 'No Title' (1966) infuses the rigorous vocabulary popularized by Minimalism with dark humour, ambivalent eroticism, and above all, humanity. The work violates conventional divisions between the sculptural and the pictorial. Its dissolution of supposedly clear-cut distinctions extends to its eroticism, which is neither male nor female: the built-up mound evokes a breast, while in a bout of psychoanalytic play the tubing calls to mind both umbilical cord and phallus.
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.