The exhibition The order of time and things. The home studio of Hanne Darboven brings together a large selection of pieces from the artist’s studio, showing, for the first time in a museum, the setting in which Darboven (Munich, 1941- Hamburg, 2009) worked.
Although the exhibition does not aim to recreate the studio in its entirety, it does look at the internal logic connecting each one of its elements, in contrast to the randomness with which it may seem to have been built. So as to offer a broader vision of her work, with emphasis on the two main formulas developed by the artist throughout her career, the exhibition also includes a representative set of her numerical writing projects, musical compositions and calendar sequences. In both spheres – the collection of objects and her insistence on reticular structures and grids – Darboven seems determined to hold back time and reconstruct it using meta-architectures in which the temporal realm unfolds into space.
Hanne Darboven (Munich, 1941 – Hamburg, 2009) lived all her life in Am Burgberg, her family home in Hamburg, where she also set up her studio. The sole exception was a stay of two years in New York in the mid-sixties. Her home-studio are full of her own works and gifts from artist friends, but above all of items of everyday use, handicrafts, souvenirs, knick-knacks of all kinds and curios from every corner of the world. It is more like a cabinet of curiosities than an ordinary studio.
Darboven is known for her large-scale works combining geometric drawing, numerical series, image and sculpture. They are generally categorized within conceptual art, though with certain qualifications since the sober meticulousness of her serial productions is interrupted time and time again by autobiographical references and mentions of the place where they were created. This self-referential character contrasts with the conceptual ambitions of the artist, who spoke out more than once against any form of subjectivity.
This exhibition is neither a retrospective nor an anthology. A visit to her home-studio in Hamburg has originated an itinerary that permits the discovery of a place and the passage of time accumulated in it. Some of the pieces selected were suggested by that visit. Homer. Odyssey (1971), that initial encyclopedia of all narratives, together with Milieu (1979-1980) or Kosmos (1985) burst in like journeys through latitudes as close in their materialization as they are distant in their mysteries. An attempt has been made to detect the coordinates that allow us to situate ourselves vis-à-vis the network of references that make up her particular universe. This exhibition will always be an invitation and a representation, the exaltation of the moments of a life and an oeuvre through things, their narratives and their images. Revealing the universe of the homestudio of Hanne Darboven in the exhibition space of a museum gives rise to an approach to her work on the basis of her life, and vice versa.
While Darboven was able to visualize the same structure over and over again, developing it through different media and techniques, the objects in her collection are an immediate and symbolic incarnation of the connection between the physical world and culture. Within her particular cosmos, things are combined to form a sort of “world in miniature”. Darboven’s home-studio is both the starting point and the end of her work, materially as well as conceptually, and it is an essential aspect of her oeuvre and a fundamental part of her legacy. It is inscribed within the strategies of classical and avantgarde modernity, while at the same time referring us to the artistic and expository forms of the present day.