Eva Hesse, ‘Addendum’ 1967
Eva Hesse
Addendum 1967
Tate
© The estate of Eva Hesse, courtesy Hauser & Wirth, Zürich

Experimenting with Minimalist forms, Hesse invariably undermined them with the addition of one or more ‘wild’ elements. Addendum 1967 deploys many of the qualities of Minimalism, such as the hemispheres repeated in a systematic progression across a rectilinear panel. Yet, spewing forth from the centre of each circle is a rope which drops to the floor and curls in an unruly tangle.

This spirit of contradiction is at the heart of Hesse’s work. ‘I was always aware that I should take order versus chaos, stringy versus mass, huge versus small…’ she said. A large cube constructed out of aluminium mesh, Accession II 1967-9 is typical in the way it balances competing tendencies. From the outside it appears like a typical Minimalist work, not dissimilar to the floor boxes of Donald Judd or Robert Morris. Closer inspection reveals that the interiors are bristling with thousands of protruding tubes, giving it an organic appearance, like a coating of fur or hair.

Another version, Accession III 1968, is made of milky, translucent fibreglass, its luminous surface more evocative of natural materials than industrial processes.