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EVA HESSE: UNTITLED, ca. 1961

THERE ARE WORKS OF ART that can be confidently described as minor and of marginal importance, perhaps even to the artists who made them, that for reasons far from clear, one can’t get enough of. In my own case, I have often been drawn to works, from Joseph Cornell to Agnes Martin, where the paucity or the almost complete absence of narrative, even of formal complexity, was an invitation to a kind of poetic reverie. I suppose this is like saying I prefer an empty room to the clutter of an overdesigned interior, that I prefer a space in which a single chair or an empty birdcage can do wonders for the imagination. Empty spaces make us discover our inwardness. In such rooms one has the feeling that time has stopped, that one’s solitude and that of the remaining object are two actors in a metaphysical theater.

This work is one of the series of semiabstract, untitled ink washes on paper that Eva

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