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Menil Drawing Institute presents "Hanne Darboven - Writing Time" closing day

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Photo courtesy of bpk Bildagentur / Angelika Platen / Art Resource, NY. © bpk

Hanne Darboven (1941-2009), a German conceptual artist, is best known for her immersive installations of individually framed sheets filled with text formulations and collaged images. At the heart of her practice is the question of how to make visible the unfolding of history, the passing of time, and one’s experience within both.

In 1973, Darboven penned a letter to her friend, the artist Sol LeWitt, that is both correspondence and a manifesto. In it, she declares her use of writing, numbers, and dates to be her “field,” “unit,” and “desire,” and “as quiet as pencil and paper.” The letter, however, bursts forth with wavy lines, numbers, dates, and elongated dashes that fill empty space and cross out words, an addition that suggests an inherent contradiction to the proclaimed “quiet” of the materials specific to writing and drawing. The note, and the wide variety and quantity of marks it contains, depicts the intertwining of writing and drawing that formed the core of Darboven’s artistic practice for over forty years.

The exhibition at the Menil explores three defining motifs of the artist’s work on paper - abstract drawings, date calculations, and monumental installations. The show opens with examples of the artist’s earliest works, the Constructions, abstract drawings based on fixed number patterns mapped onto graph paper.

In "Construction/Perforation," 1966/67, an arbitrary number sequence, is translated into a series of diagonal lines that increase and decrease in length sequentially, starting at five graph squares long, then ten, then nine, and finally arriving back at five. The resulting horizontal bands of chevron-like patterns appear to bend toward and recede from the viewer.

Hanne Darboven (1941-2009), a German conceptual artist, is best known for her immersive installations of individually framed sheets filled with text formulations and collaged images. At the heart of her practice is the question of how to make visible the unfolding of history, the passing of time, and one’s experience within both.

In 1973, Darboven penned a letter to her friend, the artist Sol LeWitt, that is both correspondence and a manifesto. In it, she declares her use of writing, numbers, and dates to be her “field,” “unit,” and “desire,” and “as quiet as pencil and paper.” The letter, however, bursts forth with wavy lines, numbers, dates, and elongated dashes that fill empty space and cross out words, an addition that suggests an inherent contradiction to the proclaimed “quiet” of the materials specific to writing and drawing. The note, and the wide variety and quantity of marks it contains, depicts the intertwining of writing and drawing that formed the core of Darboven’s artistic practice for over forty years.

The exhibition at the Menil explores three defining motifs of the artist’s work on paper - abstract drawings, date calculations, and monumental installations. The show opens with examples of the artist’s earliest works, the Constructions, abstract drawings based on fixed number patterns mapped onto graph paper.

In "Construction/Perforation," 1966/67, an arbitrary number sequence, is translated into a series of diagonal lines that increase and decrease in length sequentially, starting at five graph squares long, then ten, then nine, and finally arriving back at five. The resulting horizontal bands of chevron-like patterns appear to bend toward and recede from the viewer.

WHEN

WHERE

Menil Drawing Institute
1412 W Main St, Houston, TX 77006, USA
https://www.menil.org/exhibitions/373-hanne-darboven-writing-time

TICKET INFO

Admission is free.

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