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The Great Women Artists

Katy Hessel



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Briony Fer on Eva Hesse

In episode 30 of The Great Women Artists Podcast, Katy Hessel interviews the incredible art historian and curator, Professor Briony Fer, on the legendary EVA HESSE!! [This episode is brought to you by Alighieri jewellery: | use the code TGWA at checkout for 10% off!] One of the most GROUNDBREAKING artists the world has ever seen, Eva Hesse was known for her innovative sculptures made up of synthetic materials from fibreglass, plastic, to latex.  Working predominantly in NYC in the 60s, despite a short-lived career, Eva worked rigorously and prolifically, challenging every sculptural convention which came before her. Particularly deconstructing the rigidity and uniformity of Minimalism.  A pioneering feminist artist, Hesse desired, in her own words, to “challenge the norms of beauty and order.” And that's exactly what she did. She explored the body and form, and painting and sculpture, like no one had before. She painted biomorphs with wonky grids, covered cheesecloths in latex, and celebrated materials for what they were in all their irregular glory.  Born to Jewish parents in Nazi Germany in 1936, Hesse's early life was traumatic. Where her extended family were horrifically transported to concentration camps, she, her sister and their parents fled to NYC, with her mother sadly committing suicide just a few years later. Hesse channelled her anxieties into her art making, studying under the likes of Josef Albers at Yale, and taking the NY art scene by storm when she was just in her late 20s and early 30s. Earning herself major solo exhibitions and critical acclaim at a time when female artists were widely overlooked, Hesse explored wonders before her premature death in 1970, aged just 34. She has since gone on to influence millions. This discussion with world-renowned art historian Briony Fer – an old tutor of mine from UCL!! – is one of my favourites ever. Briony speaks SO wonderfully about Eva and really goes into depth about who she was, and her fiercely experimental practice. I hope you enjoy!!! Highly recommend this fantastic documentary on Eva! WORKS DISCUSSED IN THIS EPISODE: Accession Schema Drawings Ringaround Arosie Vertiginous Detour Untitled or Not Yet Hang Up Right After Repetition 19 This episode is sponsored by Alighieri @alighieri_jewellery Use the code: TGWA for 10% off!  Follow us: Katy Hessel: @thegreatwomenartists / @katy.hessel Sound editing by Amber Miller (@amber_m.iller) Artwork by @thisisaliceskinner Music by Ben Wetherfield

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