“ Despite the protestations of friends such as the poet Gioia Timpanelli that [Eva] Hesse ‘was not an artist about degradation’ … Hesse’s work concerned her materials, her interactions with them, and theirs with her. Those interactions are still reverberating physically and chemically. The materials with which she collaborated have become her executors. They deserve our respect.
Jonathon Keats (the philosopher, artist, novelist and critic) on The Afterlife of Eva Hesse
I like Keats’ assertion that the mutable materials Hesse used in her sculptures (latex, fiberglass, papier-mâché) keep her work alive in unexpected, rewarding ways—and make them conceptually slippery. Would it be useful in framing discussions about other unstable mediums like degraded film and magnetic tape? For example, even at the time of its introduction Polaroid film was an alternative to a more chemically stable and easy-to-manipulate (in and out of the darkroom) format. The photographers who chose to work with it knew that without negatives, it was hard to control the results and that the unique prints would likely fade over time and become something their creator didn’t originally intend.