Seriality – Infinite Systems, Finite Spaces

Artists took advantage of the mechanical reproduction of the book as form to present series and sequences that could be construed to go on indefinitely. These books explore the relation between the human and the technological through an interrogation of tensions between automation and spontaneity, singularity and repetition, performance and iterability.  

Peter Roehr’s ten pages of “ciphers” organize numerical digits 0 through 9 in simple squares as if each page, striking in its simplicity, were a code that would unlock the passage to an incommensurable space of experience. Is this not, after all, what happens in that mysterious process called reading?

Hanne Darboven studies in her books the impulse to exhaustively write and systematize lived experience. They present seemingly endless repetitions of numbers, dates, sequences, etc., that in fact, on closer examination, exhibit subtle differences in which life can be glimpsed and the system undermined.

As is evident in his distinctive mode of producing images, Thomas Bayrle was trained as a weaver and was an early experimenter with digital and computer graphics. His books reflect on the individual bound up in networks of images disseminated by mass media and consumer culture. The power and propagation of the pornographic image was in this regard a particular preoccupation. If pornography, in a way not unrelated to certain aspirations of performance art, is orchestrated to give the impression of presence for the satisfaction of the reader-consumer, then his Feuer im Weizen makes fun of such pornographic intention by multiplying the ostensibly singular moments it records. 

Gallery Installation Photograph

Staff photograph

Case installation of the items for Seriality –  Infinite Systems,  Finite Spaces.

El Lissitzky: Art and pangeometry
Hanne Darboven (1941-2009), German
Brussels: Société des Expositions, 1973
Regenstein Library, General Collection

UNIDA The Hague
Thomas Bayrle (1937-), German
Rare Book Collection