(1969). latex on wire mesh, wire, staples, string. 16 ' x 3".
"Completed in January 1969 for the Bern show (which opened [in Germany]
in March), it is a delicate ladder suspended in space by thin diagonal rubber
lines from the meeting point of wall and ceiling to the floor, where it
is attached in a tangle of string." [note: from the accompanying photo
below, it appears that the string was tied to a nail in the floor.]
"'It is very taut,' Hesse said of it. 'It is attached from the two
angles so there is a lot of tension, and yet the whole thing is flexible
and moves.' Her title notes [on the meaning of the Latin word vinculum]
are 'link, that which binds; bond, site, connecting medium.'"
[p. 148; includes illustration below. On p. 204 Lippard notes that
in 1966 Hesse acquired a "huge thesaurus from which she subsequently
chose her titles."]
But: "perhaps the most drastic way [Hesse] allowed chance to prevail
was in her use of latex. No other artist has invested so much time and major
work in a medium known to be impermanent" .
"On December 14  [Hesse] wrote to Rosie Goldman: 'I want to explain
what I have been doing. And although I already question validity, worth,
meaning, antecedent etc. I have been enjoying the newness and the work.
In the abandoned factory where we work there is lots of junk around.
...I have all these months looked over and at much of the junk. I finally
took a screen, heavy mesh which is stretched on a frame like so and taken
cord which I cut into smaller pieces. I soak them in plaster and knot each
piece through a hole and around wire. It is compulsive work which I enjoy.
...It might work its way to something special. ...On other side it's
the knots that are seen....'"
[28-29; bold is Hesse's underlining, in her handwritten letter]
Lippard on repetition in Hesse's work:
"The wrapping and binding and layering process is also repetitive and
makes the viewer relive the intensity of the making in a manner far from
the abstract or didactic way in which process is used by most men. Women
are always derogatorily associated with crafts, and have been conditioned
towards such chores as tying, sewing, knotting, wrapping, binding, knitting,,
and so on. Hesse's art transcends the cliché of `detail as women's
work' while at the same time incorporating these notions of ritual as antidote
to isolation and despair. There is that ritual which allows scope to fantasy,
compulsive use of the body accompanied by a freeing of the mind. The mythical
Penelope is always being mentioned pejoratively in regard to art by women.
Yet hers was a positive, not a negative action, despite its impermanence.
The act itself can be known, safe, but the result can be highly unexpected.
Repetition can be a guard against vulnerability; a bullet-proof vest of
closely knit activity can be woven against fate. Ritual and repetition are
also ways of containing anger, and of fragmenting fearsome wholes.
... An integral part of Hesse's work is that certain pleasure in proving
oneself against perfection, or subverting the order that runs the outside
world by action in one's inside world, in despoiling neat edges and angles
with'home-made' or natural procedures that relate back to one's own body,
one's own personal experience. Thus outwardly rational work can be saturated
with a poetic and condensatory intensity that eventualy amounts to the utmost
in irrationality. Repetition, and repetition of moveable units in particular,
leads to fragmentation, the disintegration of one order in favor of a new
one. At the end of her life Hesse was beginning to feel free and strong
enough to follow repetition into that area." 
Eva Hesse, 1969
Temporal Changes in the Quality
of the Song
Robert Smithson "felt his sculpure Alogon dealt with a 'surd
state' also present in [Hesse's] work, `where things don't quite hold up
in terms of a given abstraction. We would talk about contrasts, things playing
off each other, while she was making Laocoon. Her work had a strong
impact on me....'" [p. 84; source is an interview with Smithson by
surd: 1. a sum containing one or more irrational numbers. 2. A voiceless
sound in speech. Latin surdus, deaf, mute; used in mathematics to
translate Arabic jadhr asamm [deaf root], itself a translation of
the Greek alogos, speechless, irrational.