Using numbers as “a way of writing without describing,” Darboven based much of her work on the calendar. In 1968, when a new generation of artists was making conceptual, process-oriented works, Darboven began creating labor-intensive drawings based on the addition of the digits that make up a date (day + month + year). Her emphasis on process and duration makes time both the raw material and the subject of her art. Like a journal or a diary, her work documents her life, but her use of mathematical procedures ensures that her personal history is kept private.
Gallery label from Compass in Hand: Selections from The Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection, April 22, 2009–January 4, 2010.