This essay, InDifference, considers Eva Rothschild’s work from the start of her career in the late 1990s through to the date of publication. That work encompasses woven posters, plaited leather ‘heads’ and ‘snakes’, stacks, hoops, frames, the arrangements of pierced triangular perspex elements, and more. The essay’s title alludes to a number of important themes in her sculpture, ranging from the practical - the choice and use of particular materials, and the reflective - the question of gender, and of the relationship of her work to other sculptors who have addressed that issue such as Eva Hesse and Jackie Winsor. It also refers to the manner in which she sees her work ultimately asserting itself as sculpture in distinction from its more general status as an object. To quote from the essay:
Rothschild speaks of the taking of the installation photograph, rather than the more prosaic point at which something is finished in the studio, as being the moment of a sculpture’s completion for her. Prior to that moment of being, as it were, delivered over to the imaginative gaze of the viewer, the work’s resolution is kept in abeyance, as if the sculpture were indeed not quite yet a sculpture, simply a sculptural potential yet to fully relinquish the qualities of something more like an accessory, a prop, an ornament, or some other kind of object that occupies a more obviously functional place within the space of one’s existence.
Rothschild’s use of photography as a means to announce the appearance of sculpture reflects back upon the manner in which her work speaks to the body, and especially to the hand and the eye. And yet our own manifest interest in her sculptures, and our preoccupation with the issues they open up to us, remains possible only through the indifference of the work itself. As she wrote of the photographs of people holding snakes taken on the occasion of an exhibition that included several of her own plaited snake-like forms, ‘the people are fascinated by the snakes, the snakes are not fascinated by the people.’
In addition to this essay, the book also includes an interview with Eva Rothschild by Laura Hoptman, at that time Curator at the New Museum, New York, now Curator in the Department of Painting and Sculpture, Museum of Modern Art, New York.