In the ten years between 1960 and 1970, German-born American artist Eva Hesse produced one of the most compelling bodies of art practice of the twentieth century. Her death in 1970 has been a profound loss for contemporary art but her creative legacies continue to have impact upon the work of today's artists. In this book, Vanessa Corby presents a fascinating new analysis of two drawings made by Hesse in 1960-61 at the beginning of her professional life. Written from the position of a painter, it develops a new art historical method that reads the mutual inflection of making an image to question the means by which artistic protocols can creatively work culturally mediated historical experience. Hesse's encounters with the works of Rico Lebrun, the increased cultural presence of The Diary of Anne Frank and the capture of Adolf Eichmann are each situated in relation to the artist's processes of picturing to supplement current understandings of Hesse's practice. In so doing, Corby foregrounds the artist's work as that which emerged as the event now known as 'The Holocaust' began to appear on the screen of American culture. This groundbreaking text does not claim that Hesse's art practice is about the Holocaust. Rather, it positions her art practice and sense of identity as an artist as the product of a desire to belong, that had been precipitated by the displacement of Ha Shoah, but was re-invoked by the cultural and political contexts of 1950s and 1960s America.
Longing, Belonging and Displacement