New York

Roman Opalka

John Weber Gallery

Roman Opalka’s work makes me shudder. This was the second installation I’ve seen of his 1 – ∞ (one to infinity) paintings of white numbers on a gray ground exhibited with an audio-tape of his sonorous counting in Polish. His enterprise is so immediately apparent, and the look of the installation is so funereal, that I was quickly scared out of the gallery. It’s simply macabre, a yeady Kafkaesque fantasy. Opalka makes On Kawara seem like an artist of infinite variety doing work that’s positively rich with allusions to the moment and conditions of its making. At least with those paintings of the time in the morning the artist awoke you can imagine what the weather was like there, what he had to do that day besides the painting. First he gets on a robe if it’s cold, and then he goes to a drawer for his stencil . . . But Opalka seems invariable, a slack system, a locked circuit. Like a computer

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