Zeitgeschichten (Time Histories)
11 September 2015 to 17 January 2016
Hanne Darboven (1941–2009) is one of the most exceptional international artists of the 20th century. Hence the Art and Exhibition Hall in Bonn and the Haus der Kunst in Munich have collaborated to put on a parallel retrospective in order to do justice to her outstanding significance.
«My secret is that I do not have one.»Hanne Darboven
Hanne Darboven’s demanding work can be described as artistic writing, visual art, and minimalist composition, and in summary as conceptual art. In the late 1960s, when she defined the current date as the foundation of her work, she started developing her guiding principles: serial sequences, patterns based on logic and mathematical formulas, and data translated into graphic or numerical representations. From then on, Darboven consciously opposed the conventional concept of art by placing her works in the tradition of writing and books: written by hand or typed on pieces of paper, they merge in expansive installations that often comprise hundreds of pages.
Hanne Darboven observed the political occurrences of her times and also the history and development of our culture and society with a watchful eye. Over the years, she created extensive thematic works that can be interpreted as straightforward comments on current events, but also as a tribute to great poets, philosophers, scientists, politicians, and artists. The linking of art and politics, and the connection between different forms of expression – such as literature, visual arts, film, and music – define the thematic tension fields of her ‘recollective work’ and chronicles. The aesthetics of her serial works continue to set standards as they inextricably combine formal accuracy, a decided artistic approach and (cultural) political awareness with masterly artistic expression.
The exhibition shows the aesthetic diversity and the large array of media in Hanne Darboven’s oeuvre. However, the two venues explore different aspects. The main focus is on Darboven’s characteristic serial writings and drawings, her early minimalist works, which include pictures made up of different materials and constructional drawings, and also musical compositions in which she translated numeral systems into sequences of musical notes, and filmic works. Furthermore, her sculptural work and object art, and to date never shown three-dimensional wooden structures created during the last three years of the artist’s life – on the basis of early constructions from the middle of the 1960s – form a work-immanent bracket. To help understand the artist’s conceptual cosmos, the exhibition also incorporates materials from her spacious studio and home – a seemingly cyclopaedic archive of objects.