Eva Hesse (1936-1970) was a German-American sculptor known for working with unconventional materials like wax, cheesecloth, fibreglass, and latex. I saw her work in an exhibition of her Studiowork (test pieces) at the Camden Arts Centre in 2010. I remember her sculptures as very unusual, beautiful, and organic. Forms, textures, and colours which evoke parts of the body. There was a table layed out with little papier mache shapes that seemed to float on the surface, very delicate. I did a quick sketch when I got home.
Her interest in these materials started when she was using a disused factory in Germany as a makeshift studio and she became inspired by the commercial materials she saw lying around, excited by their sculptural possibilities.
She says of her work, “Don’t ask what it means or what it refers to. Don’t ask what the work is. Rather, see what the work does.”
Sadly, she died at just 34 from a brain tumour.
Test piece. Fibreglass, polyester resin, plastic. 1968