Hanne Darboven

Munich, Germany, 1941 - Hamburg, Germany, 2009

“I only use numbers because it is a way of writing without describing. It has nothing to do with mathematics. Nothing! I choose numbers because they are so steady, limited, artificial. The only thing that has ever been created is the number. A number of something (two chairs, or whatever) is something else. It’s not pure number and has other meanings. If I were making it up I couldn’t possibly write all that.

I try to move, to expand and contract as far as possible between more or less known and unknown limits. At times I feel closer while doing a series, and at times afterwards. But whether I come closer or not, it is still one experience. The materials consist of paper and pencil with which I draw my conceptions, write words and numbers, which are the most simple means for putting down my ideas; for ideas do not depend on materials. The nature of idea is immateriality. All Things have plenty of variations and varieties, so they can be changed.”


Hanne Darboven, from Eight Contemporary Artists, MoMA, New York, 1974.

Gallery exhibitions

Selected works

Hanne Darboven, Untitled, 1974, marker on contact paper, cm.41,8x29,2
Hanne Darboven, Untitled, 1974, felt tip marker on paper, 3 sheets, cm.29,4x21 each (cm.29,4x63 overall)
Hanne Darboven, Untitled, 1981, marker on paper, diptych, cm.29,5x20,7 each
Hanne Darboven, Untitled , 1987, marker on paper/pennarello su carta, cm.29,5x2
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