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White Gray Black

Hanne Darboven (German, 1941–2009)

About this artist

Source: Oxford University Press

German conceptual artist. She moved to New York in 1965, after studying at the Hochschule für Bildende Kunst in Hamburg, and began to produce delicate point and line drawings that gave form to sets of mathematical calculations. Although she lived in almost total solitude, her work became part of a collective effort to replace the discrete art object with Conceptual Art, grounded in ideas and actions. In the late 1960s she began to use the divisions of the calendar as the conceptual basis of her art. One Month, One Year, One Century (1971; Aachen, Neue Gal.) consists of 402 books, each containing series of numbers extrapolated from a single date and grouped with other volumes to represent months, years, and finally a whole century. Her books and mounted images, painstakingly handwritten, embody not only an abstract span of time but also the actual time of the artist’s labour.

In the 1970s Darboven often allied her work, which she considered a form of writing, to the accomplishments of writers such as Heinrich Heine and Jean-Paul Sartre, directly transcribing portions of their texts or translating them into patterns. She further expanded her scope by including musical arrangements and photographs in her displays. In the World View series (exh. 1982, Venice, Biennale), she incorporated 19th-century postcards of historic sites and monuments into a vast calendar-like work that summarized her preoccupation with lived experience and passages of time.

Nancy Ring
From Grove Art Online

© 2009 Oxford University Press

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