0082 All about Eve

Eva Hesse and the Post-Minimalist Romantic Irony

  • Wojciech Szymański (Author)
    Krakow/ Wrocław

    Dr. Wojciech Szymański holds a PhD in art history. He is an Assistant Professor at the Department of History of Modern Art at the Institute of Art History of the University of Wrocław. He is a freelance curator and art critic as well as member of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA). He is the author of numerous academic and critical essays as well as curator of over a dozen group and solo shows and art projects. He has collaborated with many outstanding artists, including Marta Deskur, Janina Kraupe-Świderska, Paulina Ołowska, Joanna Rajkowska, Karol Radziszewski and Łukasz Skąpski. His current research focuses on visual memory of the Great War. His research project "Images of/from the Great War. Modes of representation of the Great War (1914-1918) in Polish art" is carried out within the framework of the post-doctoral programme awarded by the National Centre of Science.

  • Karolina Kolenda (Translator)

Identifiers (Article)


The article employs the category of Romantic irony for an interpretation of Eva Hesse's work. It takes as its starting point one of Arthur Danto's texts, where the American philosopher makes a positive re-evaluation of the artist's work, and reads it as a largely humorous combination of two – seemingly incongruent – traditions of American art of the 20thcentury: Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism. Features that Danto finds humorous, the author of the present article considers exemplary of Romantic irony, an approach that he finds in Eva Hesse's oeuvre. In the second part of the article, two competing interpretations of Eva Hesse's work are presented: Robert Pincus-Witten's and Lucy R. Lippard's. However, with the use of the notion of Romantic irony their standpoints can be reconciled, with a simultaneous indication of a previously dismissed, yet crucial, ironic aspect of the work of the American artist.


Eva Hesse, Arthur C. Danto, Post-Minimalism, Romantic irony, eccentric abstraction