Quartett 1988, 1988

[Hanne Darboven's] Quartett 1988, 1988...is an imposing grid of 745 drawings/writings which chronicle the days of the year 1988 within the context of a historical examination of four great women: Madame Curie, Virginia Woolf, Rosa Luxembourg and Gertrude Stein.

The installation is roughly divided into sections, one for each of the historical figures, wherein a portrait image is repeated again and again across the sheets, bordered in a brilliant red in thin black frames, accompanied by Darboven's (signature) waves of nonwriting, numbers and the ubiquitous heute (today) crossed out at the bottom of each page. Other pages are columns of text from bibliographic entries on each figure, from reference books. Because of the postcard repetition and the textbook quality of the photographs, the portraits become "official," supported by the legitimation of the bibliographies. They forcefully, within the given systems of history-making/learning, seem to assert an authority of accomplishment -- in literature, science, and politics -- that should rightfully place these figures in the "annals of history," monuments to inventive intellect.

However, within each section is a series of pages that sport a photograph of a turn-of-the-century mannequin, supposedly a stenographer, trussed up in chignon hairdo, lace vest, and girdered stockings...the mannequin, physically present in the installation in a plexiglass box, has no arms, no fingers to [write].

-- Kathryn Hixson, "Chicago in Review, Hanne Darboven," Arts Magazine (March 1990): 122.

PHOTO: Hanne Darboven, Quartett 1988, 1988 (detail).

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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