Body Without Organs (Eva Hesse)


Reading up on bodies, the wall description for this large untitled sculpture by Eva Hesse says more about it than I could ever hope to do about knotting and twisting,  suspension and mutation, dipping and dripping. These types of work by Eva Hesse lack the solidity usually associated with which sculpture, even with contemporary sculpture that plays off the idea of voids. Its construction is more loosely organized, more haphazard. The horizontal extension that first meets the eye belies the strong vertical organization. Viewed from a distance, the piece doesn’t look like much, more like a work of chance (an idea basic to Hesse’s thinking). That may be why the curators at the Whitney placed it in a corner, as if it or its impression might otherwise dissipate or disappear in more open space. Perhaps they thought that the corner might contain the image in a more three dimensional space. To get it at its best, you need to draw up to look close, to try to get your eye inside, as it were. I’ve said something before here at the blog about Eva Hesse in relation to something Rosalind Krauss said about Deleuze. Made of latex, rope, string, and wire, this assemblage looks like a body without organs.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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