Hanne Darboven and Postmodernism
Craig Owens, one of postmodernism's central theorists, identifies Darboven's artistic practices as allegorical. In "The Allegorical Impulse: Toward a Theory of Postmodernism," Owens argues that certain aesthetic counter-strategies manifested in Darboven's serial methods pose a deconstructive challenge to the totalizing, mythologizing art of mainstream modernism.
[I]t is the "common practice" of allegory "to pile up fragments ceaselessly, without any strict idea of a goal."1 This method of construction led Angus Fletcher to liken allegorical structure to obsessional neurosis,2 and the obsessiveness of the works of Sol LeWitt, say, or Hanne Darboven suggests that they too may fall within the compass of the allegorical. Here we encounter yet a third link between allegory and contemporary art: in strategies of accumulation, the paratactic work composed by the simple placement of "one thing after another."... One paradigm for the allegorical work is [thus] the mathematical progression.
1 Walter Benjamin, The Origin of German Tragic Drama, trans. John Osborne (London: NLB, 1977): 178.
--Craig Owens, "The Allegorical Impulse: Toward a Theory of Postmodernism," October 12 (Spring 1980): 72.PHOTO: Hanne Darboven, Histoire de la Culture, Index 1880-1985, 1986 (detail).
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