went to the library today and did some leisurely art research. i’ve never paid any attention to eva hesse (i clearly just don’t pay attention); the spine must have been particularly well done, as i felt compelled to pull it from the shelf.
reading eva hesse’s timeline and journal excerpts i now feel as though she and i are of the same mind, if that’s at all possible. i recognize instantly the traits of a fellow INTP/J, fiercely committed to the cause—in this case, unbridled creative expression, a cohesive wholeness to her work, balancing the constant tug-of-war of artistic practice/family life/practical work, art as survival and truth, and then the crippling anxiety depending on where the work sits in the world (is it dynamic? does it say something true? is it shit? what is objectivity? has someone said the work is great? does that someone’s opinion make a difference? HOW TO STOP CARING SO MUCH?), so disciplined at all times, feeling immense guilt at any moment of repose as though a few hours might very well be abandonment of the cause. she could’ve done to give herself a break, and it was upsetting to read that she passed at age 34 from a brain tumor. clearly all that thinking did her no scrap of good. still, it was comforting to read a lifelong account that could have been mine (save for the famous friends*), and i suppose so many others.
see photo of her studio: every one of these suspended objects looks absolutely of the moment, and could be jewelry at totokaelo / maryam nassir zadeh / etc.
i lied; there’s this guy.
History is a facsimile of events held together by finally biographical information. Art history is less explosive than the rest of history, so it sinks faster into the pulverized regions of time. History is representational, while time is abstract; both of these artifices may be found in museums, where they span everybody’s own vacancy. The museum undermines one’s confidence in sense data and erodes the impression of textures upon which our sensations exist. Memories of ‘excitement’ seem to promise something, but nothing is always the result. Those with exhausted memories will know the astonishment.
Visiting a museum is a matter of going from void to void. Hallways lead the viewer to things once called ‘pictures’ and ‘statues.” Anachronisms hang and protrude from every angle. Themes without meaning press on the eye. Multifarious nothings permute into false windows (frames) that open up into a variety of blanks. Stale images cancel one’s perception and deviate one’s motivation. Blind and senseless, one continues wandering around the remains of Europe, only to end in that massive deception ‘the art history of the recent past’. Brain drain leads to eye drain, as one’s sight defines emptiness by blankness. Sightings fall like heavy objects from one’s eyes. Sight becomes devoid of sense, or the sight is there, but the sense is unavailable. Many try to hide this perceptual falling out by calling it abstract. Abstraction is everybody’s zero but nobody’s nought. Museums are tombs, and it looks like everything is turning into a museum. Painting, sculpture and architecture are finished, but the art habit continues. Art settles into a stupendous inertia. Silence supplies the dominant chord. Bright colors conceal the abyss that holds the museum together. Every solid is a bit of clogged air or space. Things flatten and fade. The museum spreads its surfaces everywhere, and becomes an untitled collection of generalizations that mobilize the eye.
— Robert Smithson, ‘Some Void Thoughts On Museums’, 1979