Margaret Roberts LITTLE-HANNE-DARBOVEN 2018 (above: brown paper stencils), planned as part of Crossfires at Articulate project space during 14-29 July, 2018, opening Friday 13 July 6-8pm. Crossfires is an exhibition curated by Barbara Halnan to remember artist and colleague Rose Anne McGreevy who died in 2014.
LITTLE-HANNE-DARBOVEN spells its title out across the length of Articulate one letter each day for the three weeks that Crossfires occupies the space, starting on 10 July. Each letter is swept to the wall before the next is made. It marks each day with a simple ritual that uses Darboven’s time-histories as a type of borrowed content, copying her own practice of repeatedly scribing the words of weighty historic texts.
1. divide length of a location equally by 21
2. cut 13 paper squares by that length
3. cut one letter of LITE-HANDARBOV from each to make 13 stencils
4. locate pile of cut letter stencils on floor at one end, and lean a broom beside
5. on day 1, collect dirt by sweeping floor and nearby footpaths
6. locate stencil L on floor against wall at starting point
7. place day 1’s found dirt on floor to fill the empty L
8. remove stencil and return to pile of stencils
9. on day 2 collect dirt by sweeping floor and nearby footpaths
10. locate stencil I beside where yesterday’s square would have been
11. sweep dirt from yesterday's L against the wall
12. place day 2’s found dirt to fill the empty I
13. remove stencil and return to stencil pile
14. repeat 5. to 13. progressing through the letters spelling LITTLE-HANNE-DARBOVEN, until 3 weeks ends and length of location is reached.
I had seen Darboven’s work from the distance of images, and long planned to see it more closely. After I had the plan for LITTLE-HANNE-DARBOVEN, I read more about her work, discovering that even those knowing her work first-hand still find her practice enigmatic. Enigma is also something Rose liked in her work—and, when discussing it with her, I understood that she saw it partly as a way of asking people to engage directly with her visual/spatial language and how it interacts with the location it occupies jointly with them. The plan also enabled me to suggest Joseph Beuys' 1972 Ausfegen (Sweeping Up) as a reminder of Rose's own connection with Beuys in Belfast, as well as point to the actual time of the present in which Rose is absent, while her works remain. Day 1 below, before it was swept up.