Eva Hesse (1936-1970)
Eva Hesse (1936-1970)

Test Piece for Repetition Nineteen II

Eva Hesse (1936-1970)
Test Piece for Repetition Nineteen II
latex over cotton with surgical tubing
5½ x 10½ x 11 in. (14 x 26 x 27.9 cm.)
Executed in 1967-1968.
Estate of the artist
Galerie Metropol, Vienna, 1992
Acquired from the above by the present owner
B. Barrette, Eva Hesse: Sculpture catalogue raisonné, New York, 1989, p. 152, no. 64 (illustrated in color).
E. Sussman, ed., Eva Hesse, exh. cat., The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, New Haven and London, 2002, p. 230, fig. 94 (illustrated in color).

Lot Essay

During the summer of 1967, Hesse wrote a letter to a friend that stated that she was "working out an idea for a gas," illustrating it by little cylindrical buckets with hoses coming out of them. This idea, Repetition Nineteen, was to exist in three versions, although none would fully materialize with the hose, except as a study for Repetition Nineteen II of which the present lot is an example. Only a handful of such test pieces were executed in full size and each was sold separately.

Often labeled as a "Post-Minimalist" artist, Hesse intended for her work to eschew the hard edges of Minimalism's industrial-type surfaces towards works that contained powerful bodily associations. The expressive possibilities of latex presented a creative breakthrough that resulted in a whole new body of work in which she cast, poured and painted latex in layers over various supports. The experimental possibilities allowed her to further her interest in "process".

As one of the first pieces she executed in latex, Study for Repetition Nineteen II is of immense importance in Hesse's oeuvre and evolution as a Process artist. Its uneven layers, scarring distortions and aged color evokes an emotional weight that recalls the artist's tragic life, but also resonates with burden of collective physical human experience.


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