New York

Eva Hesse

Robert Miller, SteinGladstone

These separate exhibitions suggest the dialectic—dilemma?-—of expression and construction (seminal to Modernism, according to Theodor Adorno) that informs Eva Hesse’s art. Hesse gives each a consciously perverse, perhaps unconsciously pathological twist; expression takes on a peculiarly constructed (inhibited) look, and construction a peculiarly expressive (internally dynamic) aspect. This is hardly a reconciliation, for neither retains its validity as such.

At the Robert Miller gallery, small, intimate gouaches suggest obsessive jottings the artist made to herself, as though redundant expression could generate a sense of self. However, each individual gouache, all too conscientiously unresolved, does not so much evoke a sense of self as suggest an aborted embryo of one. It is as though Hesse were struggling to abandon herself to self-expression, but could not help asserting a self-contained

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. Please sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW and save up to 65% off the newsstand price for full online access to this issue and our archive.

Order the PRINT EDITION of the September 1991 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.