by Jen Graves
on Sat, Sep 15, 2012 at 11:08 PM
Flipping through an art book just now in preparation for this, I came across an interview with Eva Hesse, published in Artforumthe month she died of a brain tumor. Her deathbed wisdom includes these words:
If I am related to certain artists it is not so much from having studied their works or writings, but from feeling the total absurdity in their work.
Marcel Duchamp, Yvonne Rainer, Jasper Johns, Carl Andre, Sartre, Samuel Beckett...
It's so personal... Art and work and art and life are very connected and my whole life has been absurd. There isn't a thing in my life that has happened that hasn't been extreme—personal health, family, economic situations. My art, my school, my personal friends were the best things I ever had. And now back to extreme sickness—all extreme—all absurd. Now art being the most important thing for me, other than existing and staying alive, became connected to this, now closer meshed than ever, and absurdity is the key word... It has to do with contradictions and oppositions. In the forms I use in my work the contradictions are certainly there. I was always aware that I should take order versus chaos, stringy versus mass, huge versus small, and I would try to find the most absurd opposites or extreme opposites... I was always aware of their absurdity and also their formal contradictions and it was always more interesting than making something average, normal, right size, right proportion...