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Gravitas and Rope

Posted on: Sunday, July 09, 2006

"How can sculpture both establish and undermine an environment?"
Eva Hesse, Untitled ("Rope Piece"), 1970

Why, one might ask, do we associate rope with the weightiness of critical decision making? Does suspended rope coated with latex and interwoven with string and wire evoke a world gone berserk or an automatic drawing of the truest kind?

"Untitled (Rope Piece)," of 1970, was completed with the help of friends as Ms. Hesse was dying.

Was it a canopy for feminist ideals? A messy, unapologetic response to contemporary minimalism? An homage to the weight of personal history and gravitas seeking repose?

I like the idea that suspended fiber can both cradle and release the coordinates of our intentions. Might our ideas be better sorted if they were subjected to public hangings or aerated viewings, pre-finalization? Perhaps this is what makes Hesse's Rope Piece so appealing - the collaborative aspect of letting points in space surrender to the inevitability of unfettered connectedness.


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