WELTTHEATER ›79‹, form (1963)


07. September 2013 – 20. March 2014

Curated by Miriam Schoofs

In the current exhibition at HANNE DARBOVEN ROOM at the Falckenberg Collection a graphically concise, almost striking work of Hanne Darboven (1941-2009), World Theatre ›79‹, has been installed for the first time together with a work of her former teacher Almir Mavignier (born in 1925 in Rio de Janeiro).

Mavignier studied during the mid-1950s at the Ulm School of Design and was a student of Max Bill and Max Bense and met Josef Albers. His work is associated with the tradition of the concrete art and with Op Art. As a matter of fact, from the very beginning, Mavignier disregarded the traditional boundaries between fine and applied art. In addition to the bright and shimmering »point raster images« the Brazilian painter is primarily known for his »additive posters«: series of posters with clear geometric forms and often strong colour contrasts, installed in exhibitions as well as in the public space as an »all-over«–grid, on billboards, advertising pillars, or covering the entire walls in exhibitions space, achieving a strong visual impact.

Almir Mavignier has generously provided the original poster of the series form, which he designed in 1963 for a furniture store in Ulm.

Hanne Darboven`s World Theatre ›79‹ consists of a total of 366 pages in A4 format. Two-thirds of each leaf is dyed black. In the right half of the picture, there is a white cutout in the shape of an isosceles triangle blended in, setting free the view of a collaged scene: In this triangle, advertising figures with the company logo of the coffee company of the Darboven`s family (IWE Darboven) are inserted. The number of sequentially numbered sheets is corresponding to the days of a regular calendar year, completed by a single title page.

On the pages 135-231 there are »daily calculations« for the year 1979 inscribed in a rectangle within the white triangle – characteristic for Darboven`s date-registering. For this, the artist calculated the so-called »cross sum« ('K value') of a date. The cross sum is formed, by counting the digits of the year without century ('79) separately, whereas the number of the day and the month are treated as units. For example: 1.1.79 = 1 + 1 + 7 + 9 = 18K; 31.12.79 = 31 + 12 + 7 + 9 = 59K. Darboven now represents all data with the same 'K value' together. In total, 42 values are obtained (in each case overwritten with no 1 to no 42), which are represented on two pages each. The sum of the first date of the year appears only once. The sum of the digits of the second date, 01/02/79, appears twice, and so on. The number of dates with the same sum rises to the middle of the year - until no. 21, on page 175 and 176 - up to 12 dates, before falling back to a single sum, ending with the last date of the year, the 31.12.79 -> 31 + 12 + 7 + 9 = 59. From page 177, the data of the months I-XII are listed in three columns within the rectangle of each sheet. From page 232 until the end the advertising figures are back, entering the stage.

Framed in black and installed en bloc, the sheets cover the exhibition walls as a lattice grid. From a distance, for its »lay out« of a strong black and white contrast, the work almost functions like a work of Op Art, or concrete art - and corresponds visually with the »additive posters« by Almir Mavignier. On the stage of Darboven`s world theater, there are animals, Indians and fairy tale characters entering the scene. Under the white triangle of the black open curtain is alternately written: »curtain falls« / »curtain rises«.

The dramaturgy of the 'teatrum mundi‘ proves itself as a sequence of entrances and exits. The play is defined by the automatic switching between the arising and the leaving of the players.
In the tradition of the baroque theatre, the metaphorical character of the world theatre and the memento mori of its useless and desperate performance becomes clear. Or else, so to speak with Oscar Wilde: The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast.

The exhibition was realized in cooperation with the Hamburg Darboven Foundation.