1965 / 1 – ∞, ROMAN OPALKA, 1965-2011

Today it’s time to speak about an artist I am in love with: Roman Opalka. He was a French-Polish artist who worked between France and Venice.

All his artistic production consists in one single work, the one we are talking about today. The fact is that this work, named 1965 / 1 – ∞, is made of many different canvases, each of them are called Details of the main work. But what did he do? He began painting numbers in white on a black canvas, starting with 1. He continued doing so until his death! Each canvas begins where the previous one has ended, and the background colour is everytime a little whiter: the artist wanted to reach a point where he could write white on white, at the number 7,777,777. Unfortunately, he never reached that number: the last one he painted was 5,607,249.

But he did something more: every number was spelled while written down, and he recorded himself saying everyone of them in polish. Moreover, he took a picture of himself everyday he was working.

What was his aim? He wanted to capture time. He believed that everyone of us is just to be no more. But he couldn’t accept this, and wanted to reach infinity (as the title of the work suggests). This was obviously impossible, but he was symbolising how the man searh stupidly to defeat mortality day after day. While his canvases was testifying this inesorable passing of time, the photos he took everyday were representing the traces that time was leaving on him. In other words, we can see the desire on the canvases and the reality on his face.

His canvases are impressive, and here we put just one of them, but if you want to feel the power of this work we suggest to take a look at it whenever you have the chance.

– M.C.

Bibliography and further readings:



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