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Study for Sculpture

Close up of Study for Sculpture

Short, knotted cords, arranged in a symmetrical 9-by-9 grid emerge from a square panel and hang down. Thick, matte-gray paint coats the entire piece, adding rough texture to the panel and stiffening the cords into positions that cast irregular shadows across the work’s surface.

Eva Hesse, Study for Sculpture, 1967; Varnish, liquitex, Sculp-metal, cord, Masonite, 10 x 10 x 1 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay; © Eva Hesse

Study for Sculpture
Eva Hesse

In her abstract sculptures, Eva Hesse modified the precision of 1960s Minimalism to emphasize the expressive and experimental essences of creativity. Hesse’s exploratory approach foreshadowed the multitude of processes and materials that characterize sculpture in our post-modern period. Hesse mined contradictions, developing sculptures that are simultaneously hard and soft, precise and irregular, solid and open, and intellectual and erotic. Her works often relate to the human body, and many are imbued with erotic undercurrents.

Study for Sculpture comprises a clear 9-x-9 grid, but the knotted cords hang in random positions. Hesse contrasted the tightness of the knots at the ends of the cords with the limpness of the cords themselves. Light and shadow play an important role in this work, as does the use of gravity as a shaping force.

Artwork Details

  • Artist

    Eva Hesse
  • Title

    Study for Sculpture
  • Date

  • Medium

    Cord, Liquitex, Masonite, Sculp-metal, Varnish
  • Dimensions

    10 x 10 x 1 in
  • Donor Credit

    Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay
  • Photo Credit

    © Eva Hesse
  • On Display