The heavy quotation and accumulation of writings and images in Hanne Darboven's art production from the mid-seventies onward find near perfect description in Roland Barthes 1968 theory of the 'text':
We know that a text is not a line of words releasing a single 'theological' meaning...but a multi-dimensional space in which a variety of writings, none of them original, blend and clash. The text is a tissue of quotations drawn from the innumerable centres of culture. Similar to Bouvard and Pécuchet, those eternal copyists, at once sublime and comic and whose profound ridiculousness indicates precisely the truth of writing, the writer can only imitate a gesture that is always anterior, never original. His only power is to mix writings, to counter the ones with the others, in such a way as never to rest on any one of them. Did he wish to express himself, he ought at least to know that the inner 'thing' he thinks to 'translate' is itself only a ready-formed dictionary, its words only explainable through other words, and so on, indefinitely.
--Roland Barthes, "The Death of the Author" (1968), Image-Music-Text, trans. Stephen Heath (New York: Hill and Wang, 1977): 146.

PHOTO: Hanne Darboven, Sand, 1979, at Galerie Elisabeth Kaufmann, Basel, 1988-89 (installation view).





For introductions to the major principles of Hanne Darboven's work, please click on the days of the week (e.g. M, T, W). For additional information, click on another date of the month.

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