Eva Hesse, Studiowork, 1968
Courtesy of University of California, Berkeley Art Museum &
Pacific Film Archive, gift of Helen Hesse Charash, 1979
Photograph by Abby Robinson, New York
August 5 – October 25, 2009
Curated by Briony Fer and Barry Rosen
The Fruitmarket Gallery’s 2009 Edinburgh Art Festival exhibition is a solo presentation of the work of German-born American artist Eva Hesse, a major figure in post-war art.
The exhibition 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.
Throughout her career, Eva Hesse produced a large number of small, experimental works alongside her large-scale sculpture. These objects, the so-called test pieces, were made in a wide range of materials, including latex, wire-mesh, sculp-metal, wax and cheesecloth. This exhibition proposes that rather than simply technical explorations, these small objects radically put into question conventional notions of what sculpture is. Re-naming them studioworks rather than test pieces, the exhibition and them accompanying major publication offer a timely new interpretation of Hesse’s historical position, as well as highlighting her relevance for contemporary art now.
The exhibition addresses the visceral sensuality of the small pieces in the light of what it means for an artist to make work, and the ways in which the processes of making translate to the viewing encounter. It brings together around fifty sculptures drawn from major public and private collections around the world. Hesse’s sculptures are extremely fragile and rarely travel.
Many of these works have never left the collections to which they belong, and several have never been exhibited before. Although previously the test pieces and small works were considered peripheral to the major work, this exhibition argues that, as well as being beautiful and meaningful objects in their own right, they force us to ask fundamental and pressing questions, not just about what an artwork is, but about the work that art does in our culture.
This landmark exhibition is organised by The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh in collaboration with Camden Arts Centre, London; Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto and University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.
This exhibition will tour to Camden Arts Centre, London 11 December 2009 – 17 March 2010; Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona 13 May – 1 August 2010; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto 10 September 2010 – 2 January 2011; Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive, University of California 26 January – 24 April 2011
The exhibition is accompanied by a major new publication written by Briony Fer, Professor of History of Art at University College London and a specialist on Hesse’s work. Fully illustrated, the book includes a catalogue raisonne of the studioworks and makes a significant contribution to Hesse scholarship.
Eva Hesse Studiowork
Thursday 22 October 2009, 6–9pm and Friday 23 October, 10am–6pm.
A major international conference which presents new interpretations of Hesse’s work and reassesses her historical position, while also exploring her relevance for contemporary art today.
The conference begins with a keynote lecture from the curator of the exhibition Briony Fer, followed by an evening reception and exhibition viewing. A full day of talks follows.
Speakers include: Jo Applin (University of York), Claire Barclay (artist), Catherine de Zegher (Art Gallery of Ontario), Mignon Nixon (Courtauld Institute of Art), Alex Potts (University of Michigan), Alistair Rider (University of St Andrews), Tamara Trodd (University of Glasgow) and Jon Wood (The Henry Moore Institute).