The Institute of Fine Arts at NYU | 1 E 78th St.
Hanne Darboven’s onetwo and the Opposition of Writing and Describing
Brigid Doherty, Associate Professor 20th Century Art, Department of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University
Thursday, May 4, 2017
6:00 PM in the Lecture Hall
The Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
1 East 78th Street
Please note that seating in the Lecture Hall is on a first-come, first-served basis with RSVP. There will be a simulcast of the lecture in an adjacent room to accommodate overflow.
About the Lecture: When in a 1975 artist’s book Hanne Darboven pointed to a variant of a line from Gertrude Stein (“a rose is a rose is a rose is a rose …”) as an “analogy” for a “formulation” of her own (“one plus one is onetwo — / or – two is onetwo – or I / do not describe – I write — —”), she linked a problem concerning writing and literary description to a problem concerning counting and its inscription. This lecture explores the significance of connections drawn in Darboven’s art not only between writing and counting as time-based practices, but also between particular modalities of writing and something like the relational spatial positioning of objects. I suggest we should see Darboven’s “onetwo” in the formulation above not only as a novel numerical figure for the arithmetical value two, but also as a figure for the side-by-sideness of two objects arranged in space. Beginning with the artist’s 1978 work Bismarckzeit and culminating in her magnum opus, Kulturgeschichte 1880-1983 (1980-83), another form of side-by-sideness emerged as crucial to Darboven’s art — the side-by-sideness of figures composed as pairs in what the artist called “sculpture-objects.” This lecture argues for the significance of “sculpture-objects” within Darboven’s art and for their place within her work’s attempt to present an alternative to the narration of cultural history.
About the Speaker: Brigid Doherty teaches in the Departments of Art & Archaeology and German at Princeton, where she is also an associated faculty member of the School of Architecture, and director of the Program in European Cultural Studies.
About the Series: The 2016-2017 Daniel H. Silberberg Series will explore the role of narrative in art and art historical writing: our theme is an invitation to consider how visual art narrates, as well as how art historians narrate the history of art. Furthermore we hope to draw attention to how art can be framed by narrative, negate narrative, and even conjure narrative through its absence.