Roman Opalka - 1960 - 1 to Infinity
0 comment Friday, May 23, 2014 |
In 1960, Roman Opalka began on a journey, painting the numbers from 1 to Infinity.
Opalka once said that he would be happy to reach the number 7,777,777 which is a number he said had "profound meaning".
Unfortunately, Roman Opalka died on the 6th of August 2011 and is thought to have reached just short of 6,000,000.
Opalka's work essentially illustrates the passing of time, stroke by stroke, day after day, year after year.
The artist described his work as a journey "a philosophical and spiritual image of the progression of time and of life and death�.

Time as we live it and as we create it embodies our progressivedisappearance; we are at the same time alive and in the face of death�that is the mystery of all living beings. The consciousnessof this inevitable disappearance broadens our experiences withoutdiminishing our joy. There is always the omnipresent idea ofnature, of its ebb and flow of life. This essence of reality can be universally understood; it is not only mine but can be commonlyshared in our unus mundus. (Trad. Mark Selwyn) Roman Opalka - "Rencontre par la séparation", AFAA, Paris, 1987
Time is a concept we can all relate to, most of us have witnessed a clock ticking and celebrated a New Year. However, Opalka took it upon himself to show this passing of time very physically.

The concept of infinity and endlessness is a terrifying prospect for me, personally. As a child, I was introduced to the concept of endless time and space, and the idea blew my tiny little mind! I could not think about anything related to space for a long time without feeling anxious.
However, in the last year of my undergraduate degree, I decided to confront my fear in a similar way to Yayoi Kusama, through repetitive art practice. Compared to Roman Opalka, my efforts were puny, but I spent two months repetitively winding wool to create a large chain sculpture.
The repetitive winding put me in to a calm state of madness leaving my brain feeling a little fried after each winding session, I could not keep up the project for longer than two months and was glad to see the back of it.
It is therefore, astounding to me, that an artist could dedicate over fifty years to continually painting numbers.
The Telegraph wrote an obituary for Roman Opalka which you can read here.

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