Hanne Darboven

Hanne Darboven

Haus der Kunst

Hanne Darboven, Kulturgeschichte 1880–1983 (Cultural History 1880–1983), 1980–83. Installation view, DIA:Chelsea, Dia Art Foundation, New York.  Photo: Cathy Carver, 1996. © Hanne Darboven Stiftung, Hamburg / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2015.

September 2, 2015

Hanne Darboven

September 18, 2015–February 14, 2016

Haus der Kunst
Prinzregentenstr. 1
80538 München


“The richness of Hanne Darboven’s work leads the way we present it,” says curator Okwui Enwezor of this project. The first major retrospective since the artist’s death, the exhibition enables viewers to experience the artistic work and musical compositions of Hanne Darboven (1941–2009) across four decades of practice.

Hanne Darboven is known for her serial works on paper, which she filled with rows of numbers, text, cursive lines and calculations of cross-sums of dates. The artist began the practice of copying in 1971. She copied by hand the first five books of Homer’s Odyssey, and turned to works from the Age of Enlightenment and Weimar Classicism to Critical Theory by Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno. This selection of texts was made based on what was important to her with respect to her own work. The knowledge the artist internalized through such transcription portrayed language in its materiality, as a medium of thought. This approach has its origins in the Enlightenment, an era which pursued the emergence of an independently thinking ego.

One major exhibition highlight is the reconstruction of parts of the “music room” from Darboven’s Hamburg studio, which contains an extensive collection of musical instruments that the artist combined with objects from other realms of thought: an oversized Swiss Army knife, personal documents, small African sculptures,  her father’s hunting trophies. In this way, Darboven foregoes encyclopedic aspirations and establishes instead an individual classification. In Munich, her Musical Instruments Collection has been completely reconstructed for the first time in its entity and will be presented in a form accessible to visitors. 

“My work ends in music,” the artist stated. In the early 1980s, Darboven developed a simple principle for transferring the structure of her date calculations into musical notes, which were then performed by professional musicians. In doing so, she made no specifications regarding note duration, rhythm, tempo, dynamic or articulation (staccato, legato); these decisions were made in a later process in cooperation with the arranger. The musical works resulting from this transmission of dates into music range from solo to full orchestra pieces; together, they form a fascinating sound experience, a kind of “mathematical music” (Hanne Darboven). Throughout the course of the exhibition several compositions will be performed: Wunschkonzert [Request Show], Opus 17a and 17b, 18a and 18b in a transcription for cello solo, and 24 Gesänge [Songs], Opus 14–15 for organ solo.

Hanne Darboven: Enlightenment—A Retrospective is a cooperation of Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn, and Haus der Kunst, Munich, with Hanne Darboven Stiftung, Hamburg.

The catalogue documents both exhibitions. Published in two editions (German/English) by Prestel, it includes contributions by Elke Bippus, Thomas Ebers, Okwui Enwezor, Zdenek Felix, Wolfgang Marx, Miriam Schoofs and Rein Wolfs. (ISBN 978-3-7913-5499-6)

In cooperation with BR-KLASSIK
Cultural partner: M94.5

Current exhibitions:
Cold Libido. Goetz Collection at Haus der Kunst
Till 28 February 2016

Random Sampling. Painting from Goetz Collection
Till 17 January 2016

Anri Sala–The Present Moment

Till 20 September 2015

Opening soon:
Capsule 3: Lynette Yiadom-Boakye
30 October 2015–28 March 2016

Capsule 4: Adele Röder
30 October 2015–28 March 2016

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September 2, 2015

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