OPALKA: One to Infinity Paintings by Roman Opalka

September 17, 2011
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OPALKA: One to Infinity Paintings by Roman Opalka

In 1965 at age 34 Roman Opalka began transcribing numbers, beginning at one and progressing to infinity. These "Details" are each painted on a 196 x 135 cm canvas, with numbers continuing onto a new canvas each time one fills.

Beginning in 1972, he began whitening each canvas background by 1%, until he finally reached a fully white canvas in 2008, when he began painting white on white, or "blanc mérité" (white well earned).

Design, Opalka, numbers

Opalka began taking self portraits in front of each completed canvas and recording himself reading the numbers as he painted them, chronicling the passage of time and the human existence between zero and infinity. He was both documenting time and defining it simultaneously. On August 6, 2011 Opalka passed away, closing his work at 5,607,249.

Design, Opalka, numbers
Design, Opalka, numbers
Design, Opalka, numbers
Design, Opalka, numbers
Design, Opalka, numbers
Design, Opalka, numbers

I'd love to see these in exhibition.

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Jessica Patterson

Jessica Patterson

Hi, I'm Jessica. I'm a Designer and Writer at Drawbackwards and write for the Design Blog at Design.org. I enjoy vintage things, letterpress, publication design, and long walks around the Cesar Chavez Park pond. You can follow me on twitter at @jessdoodled for lots of fun randomness.

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