Hanne Darboven - Index

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12 Variante, Id, 1975 Ink On Paper (17 Sheets) Cm.119,2x105 Overall © Courtesy P420 Bologna
Hanne Darboven - Index
Curated by: Miriam Schoofs

Piazza dei Martiri 5/2
40121 Bologna
October 27th, 2012 - January 12th, 2013
Opening: October 27th, 2012 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Wed-Sat 3pm-7.30pm


Hanne Darboven



Curated by Miriam Schoofs



Saturday 27th October 2012 at 18:00

Piazza dei Martiri, 5/2 - Bologna


Opening times

From 27th Octover to 12th January 2013

Wednesday to Friday: 15:00–19:30 | Saturday 9:30–13:30 / 15:00–19:30

All other days and times by appointment.


Further information

tel. +39 (0)51 4847957 | +39 320 5635213 | +39 329 2222792

web:  –  email:




Press release

With polite request for publication


On the 27th of October at 18:00, Index will open at the P420 Gallery (Piazza dei Martiri, 5/2, Bologna), a retrospective curated by Miriam Schoofs, of the German artist Hanne Darboven (Mannheim, 1932 – Hamburg, 2009), without a doubt one of the most important figures in Conceptual Art both in Europe and worldwide.

            Having grown up in the years of Minimal Art and American Conceptual Art, Hanne Darboven’s artistic debut came in the mid-Sixties, with construction drawings, during her two-year stint in New York. It was here, after a brief geometric phase, that Hanne discovered her revolutionary and defining system for drawing and writing.

Logical and enigmatic at the same time, her work is made of signs, words, numbers and calculations.

“I use numbers because it is a way to write without describing. It’s got nothing to do with mathematics. Absolutely nothing. I choose to use numbers because they are so stable, limited and artificial.” This are the words Hanne used to describe her work in Artforum magazine in 1973. “My systems are numerical concepts, which work in terms of progression and/or reduction, akin to musical themes with variations. I like the least pretentious and most humble means, for my ideas depend on themselves and not upon a material; the very nature of an idea is not to be material.”

Ideas then, relentless streams of thought that take shape in the compulsive need to write, to draw, to translate into numbers, to organise and to reduce to the essential.

Obsessed, compulsive, logical and oneiric, simultaneously rigid and poetic. Hanne Darboven’s work must be examined in light of the trend, so typical of the Sixties and Seventies, for dematerialisation of art, extensively theorised by Lucy Lippard and Sol Lewitt, the reduction of artistic expression to a rational idea, independently of its concrete realisation.

From the late Seventies onwards, Hanne added a further dimension to her artistic vocabulary: music. Thus a musical system was born, in which numbers were replaced by notes, in which a numerical model became a performable symphony.

This exhibition, curated by critic Miriam Schoofs in collaboration with the Hanne Darboven Foundation from Hamburg, presents a selection of her work from the Seventies to the mid-Nineties, as well as some of her most important artist books, as even she preferred to label herself writer over artist.

The exhibition catalogue is available from the gallery.