Eva Hesse
Constant
1967
Acrylic and papier-mâché mixed with unidentified materials on plywood with rubber tubing
60 x 60 x 5 3/4 in. (152.4 x 152.4 x 14.6 cm)
Collection of Tony and Gail Ganz, Los Angeles

Eva Hesse was among the first artists to combine expressionistic, surreal, and erotic elements with the systematic strategies associated with minimalism. This mixing of seeming opposites is evident in Constant, which utilizes repetition and a grid structure: the work is regularly punctuated with protruding rubber tubes knotted at both ends. The organic-looking tubes reference the human body and its internal functions, recalling, for example, the rubber tubes that are tied around the arm when blood is taken. Constant's papier-mâché surface is defined by traces of the artist's fingers, an irregular and messy record of her movements as she worked the material. The contradiction between the mathematical rationality of a grid and the unpredictability and disorder of organic elements was a central theme for Hesse.