london

Eva Hesse

Camden Arts Centre

Marcel Duchamp marked a historical rupture when he spoke of wanting to make works that are not “of art”; on the other hand, artists have always produced (or can I say “by-produced”?) art that does not quite amount to works. Painters used to call such things sketches, and rigorously distinguished them from finished works. For example, the ravishing plein air oil sketches that Corot produced in Italy in the 1830s, now so highly valued in part because they seem to point the way to Impressionism and beyond, would never have been exhibited or openly sold in the artist’s lifetime, even if they circulated extensively among artists. They were exercises intended, as scholar Jeremy Strick says, to “capture the experience of a specific and contingent moment rather than the precise details of a determined form,” but they were also part of a practice premised on the overriding importance of finished

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