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 Hanne Darboven: Hommage à Picasso
February 4–April 23, 2006

One of the most important German artists since the 1960s, Hanne Darboven has for decades produced handwritten "number constructions" as her primary mode of expression. For this German conceptualist, numbers not only represent an artificial, universal language but also allow her to mark the passage of time.

In her commissioned installation for Deutsche Guggenheim, Hommage à Picasso, Darboven creates a daily record of the 1990s. Two hundred seventy panels filled with the calendrical representations of the final decade of the 20th century cover the walls and ceiling of the gallery's entrance hall. Other elements of the exhibition include a series of sculptures related to the work of Pablo Picasso, who is often thought to be the preeminent 20th-century artist, and a 120-part musical comoposition, Opus 60.

This unusual work is simultaneously a portrait of the end of the 20th century and a self-portrait of Darvoven as an artist, issues she investigates through the invocation of Picasso. Highlighting the limitations inherent in the Spaniard's later-career paintings, Darboven suggests that her conceptual approach is a more viable method for making art in the 21st century.

Three donkeys, craftwork from Poland, from Hanne Darboven, Hommage à Picasso, 1995–2006. Birch twigs. 65 7/8 x 55 3/4 x 16 3/4; 76 1/2 x 67 1/2 x 17 1/2; and 78 x 67 1/2 x 17 1/8 inches. Photo: Matthias Schormann