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Tracing the Rope: Eva Hesse Life + Work

Eva Hesse: the most important 20th century artist you've (probably) never heard of...

"Tracing the Rope: Eva Hesse Life + Work" is a feature-length documentary film that will deepen the understanding of this extraordinary mid 20th century artist, not only in terms of her ground-breaking work, but also the life that provided the fertile soil for her achievements.

Hesse’s story is both a personal journey and an important reflection of the history of art in this country. The circumstances of her life overlap some of the 20th century’s most intriguing developments. Europe in the 1930’s, New York’s culture of immigration in the 1940’s-50’s, the contemporary art scene in lower Manhattan and Germany in the 1960’s as well as Jewish culture and the rise of Feminism provide a rich backdrop to Eva Hesse’s life and work.

People who were intimate with Hesse during her life are still available to share their memories and viewpoints. In particular, Helen Hesse Charash, Eva’s older sister, Hesse’s husband, the sculptor Tom Doyle, Doug Johns, Eva’s studio assistant, the writer Lucy Lippard and Gioia Timpanelli a close friend have all participated in filmed interviews. In addition, we have shot conversations with her friends, fellow artists Robert and Sylvia Mangold, Richard Serra, Carl Andre, Nancy Holt and Dan Graham as well as Nick Serota, Director of the Tate Museums and Elisabeth Sussman, curator at the Whitney.

We are filming her exquisitely beautiful and fragile sculptures in an intimate manner that wouldn’t be possible in a museum due to conservation issues. In the few short years of activity, Hesse left behind not only dozens of sculptures and hundreds of drawings/paintings but also close to 1000 journal pages. These entries will form the film’s narration and shine a light on the private side of her life. The sound design will also take advantage of the energy of the '60’s and incorporate music contemporary to her life and a newly composed score.

Our desire is to give a diverse audience the chance to experience the woman and her art in a beautifully shot and emotionally engaging film. We believe Hesse’s story is one of courage, discipline and ultimately joy.

Sponsorship is inactive or expired. Fractured Atlas cannot accept donations for the purposes of Tracing the Rope: Eva Hesse Life + Work at this time.
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