United by a minimal, idiosyncratic, and serialized approach to mark-making, Hanne Darboven’s drawings challenge linear and objective measures of time. This succinct overview of the artist’s career explores three defining aspects of her work: abstract drawings, date calculations, and monumental installations. Her drawings are sometimes unembellished pencil lines charted on graph paper, while others are densely detailed and filled with numbers and text in mesmerizing patterns. Attempting to visualize the passing of time, Darboven translated her abstract drawings into formulas that calculate specific dates as a series of counted marks—sometimes numbers, boxes, or wavelike script. As her work developed, it also grew in scale. Inventions That Have Changed Our World is an engulfing installation of more than 1,300 individually framed sheets of paper, transcribed text, found sculptures, and pasted images.
Featuring essays by exhibition curator Kelly Montana and art historian Dieter Schwarz, this richly illustrated catalogue enlarges ideas of what drawing can be, fueled by Darboven’s efforts to capture her subjective perception of time.
Kelly Montana is assistant curator at the Menil Drawing Institute. Dieter Schwarz is an independent curator who writes frequently on art of the 1960s and ’70s.