Eva Hesse. Repetition Nineteen III. 1968

Eva Hesse Repetition Nineteen III 1968

  • MoMA, Floor 4, 413 The David Geffen Wing

Repetition Nineteen III comprises nineteen bucket-like forms, all the same shape but none exactly alike. The Minimalist artists, who emerged a little before Hesse did, had explored serial repetitions of identical units. Hesse loosened that compositional strategy: Repetition Nineteen III is simultaneously repetitive and irregular. She also tended to work on a humbler scale than the Minimalists often had, and her forms and materials are less technocratic; she herself called the soft, molded forms in Repetition Nineteen III “anthropomorphic” and recognized sexual connotations in these “empty containers.”

Made of translucent industrial fiberglass, one of Hesse’s favorite materials, Repetition Nineteen III is the third version she planned. (The first was in papier-mâché; the second, which she imagined initially in metal, then in latex, was never completed.) Besides beautifully modulating the light, the fiberglass seems both soft and hard, contributing to the richly paradoxical character of these subtle objects: nonconformist individuals that somehow make a group. The arrangement, whatever it is, seems both random and coherent, unified by a similarity preserved through difference. Hesse expressed a sense of openness around the installation of the work. “I don’t ask that the piece be moved or changed,” she reflected, “only that it could be moved and changed. There is not one preferred format.”

Publication excerpt from From MoMA Highlights: 375 Works from The Museum of Modern Art, New York (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2019).

Repetition Nineteen III comprises nineteen bucket-like forms, all the same shape but none exactly alike. Like many artists of her generation, Hesse explored repetition as a compositional strategy. However, rather than relying on the strict, hard-edged geometry of Minimalism, she deployed softer, handmade forms. This work is made of translucent industrial fiberglass, one of the artist's favorite materials.

Gallery label from From the Collection: 1960-69, March 26, 2016 - March 12, 2017.

Repetition Nineteen, III comprises nineteen bucketlike forms, all the same shape but none exactly alike. Like many artists of her generation, Hesse explored repetition as a compositional strategy. However, rather than relying on the strict, hard-edged geometry of Minimalism, she deployed softer, handmade forms. This work is made of translucent industrial fiberglass, one of the artist’s favorite materials.

Gallery label from 2011.

Repetition Nineteen III comprises nineteen bucketlike forms, all the same shape but none exactly alike. Nor do they have a set order, since Hesse allowed latitude in placing them: "I don't ask that the piece be moved or changed, only that it could be moved and changed. There is not one preferred format." The Minimalist artists, who emerged a little before Hesse did, had explored serial repetitions of identical units. Hesse loosened that principle: Repetition 19 is simultaneously repetitive and irregular. She also tended to work on a humbler scale than the Minimalists often had, and her forms and materials are less technocratic; she herself called the forms in Repetition 19 "anthropomorphic," and recognized sexual connotations in these "empty containers."

Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, revised 2004, originally published 1999, p. 271.
Medium
Fiberglass and polyester resin, nineteen units
Dimensions
Each 19 to 20 1/4" (48 to 51 cm) x 11 to 12 3/4" (27.8 to 32.2 cm) in diameter
Credit
Gift of Charles and Anita Blatt
Object number
1004.1969.a-s
Copyright
© 2019 Estate of Eva Hesse. Galerie Hauser & Wirth, Zurich
Department
Painting and Sculpture

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