Das Jahr 1970

  • Artist: Hanne Darboven
  • Creation date: 1970
  • Object type: Drawing


Hanne Darboven is one of the most prominent artists of the German postwar era. She has won acclaim for her minimalist, large-scale installations, consisting of handwritten tables full of numbers. For this out-and-out conceptualist, the numbers represented something more than a universal, artificial language. They were also something that allowed her to record the passage of time.

It was at the end of the 1960s that Darboven developed her own method of transcribing time. Her idiosyncratic system was always written down by hand on cross-ruled graph paper. The calendar sequence has served as the basis for most of her installations, where the hub consists of the present date. The various numerical combinations are the result of complex additions or multiplications that stem from personally developed sequences. Mounted alongside one another, the many numerical solutions form intricate patterns of the time that has elapsed.

Das Jahr 1970 (The Year 1970) consists of forty-two framed pictures that in tandem summarize the entire year. The work can be seen as an attempt to split up and structure time. The result is a sort of abstract diary, where the boundary between the subjective and the objective has dissolved.

Darboven defined her works as a form of text, and in the 1970s she developed her works in a more literary direction. She began now to transcribe texts, which were interpreted and broken down into structuralist skeletons. She was particularly interested in authors who like herself explore the connection between being, time, and existence.

Text: Stina Högkvist

From "Highlights. Art from 1945 to the Present", Nasjonalmuseet 2016, ISBN 978-82-8154-116-0


Hanne Darboven

Visual artist

Born 29.04.1941 in München, Tyskland, death 09.03.2009 in Hamburg

Work info

Creation date:
Other titles:
Das Jahr 1970 (GER)
Året 1970 (NOR)
Object type:
Materials and techniques:
Blekk på papir
  • Width: 217 cm
  • Height: 135 cm
Kjøpt 2000
Inventory no.:
Cataloguing level:
Complex object/artwork
Owner and collection:
Nasjonalmuseet for kunst, arkitektur og design, The Fine Art Collections
© Darboven, Hanne/BONO