London

Hanne Darboven, Ein Jahrhundert.1b (A Century. 1b) (detail), 1971–74, offset print, typewriter, ink on graph paper, 100 sheets, each 11 3/4 × 8 1/4", in 25 frames.

Hanne Darboven, Ein Jahrhundert.1b (A Century. 1b) (detail), 1971–74, offset print, typewriter, ink on graph paper, 100 sheets, each 11 3/4 × 8 1/4", in 25 frames.

Hanne Darboven and Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt

Sprüth Magers | London

“I want what I want but what I want I cannot do but what I can, I’m not supposed to,” said Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt, who produced an enigmatic body of what she calls “typewritings” between 1979 to 1989, while living in what was then East Berlin.

“What else to do / but art/ what more to do / what less to do / what else to be / but to do,” Hanne Darboven (1941–2009) wrote gnomically to Sol LeWitt in 1971 from Hamburg and the relative freedom of West Germany. Although Wolf-Rehfeldt and Darboven never met, were unaware of each other’s work, and lived and made art in radically different circumstances, the two-artist exhibition “Zeichen der Zeit / Zeit der Zeichen” (“Sign of the Times / Times of the Sign”)—with its riddling, aptly chiasmatic title—draws intriguing parallels between the two artists and their creative strategies of inversion, reversal, repetition, permutation, combination, and refusal.

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