new-york

Roman Opalka

John Weber Gallery

In stark contrast to those chameleon-like artists who seem to change directions at the first drop of a new trend stands Roman Opalka, whose career is a paradigm of relentless, singleminded, creative pursuit. Since 1965 Opalka, a Pole now living in France, has followed a strictly determined course: his aim is to make paintings and related photo- and audio-documentation based on the progressive listing of numbers. His activities over the last 27 years have been governed by a rigorous, rule-oriented, and repetitive method.

The paintings, which Opalka calls “details,” are the product of a series of “always.” Opalka always begins in the upper left and always inscribes horizontal rows of numbers in sequential, increasing order across the entire surface of the canvas, which always measures 7-by-5 feet. Having started with 1, 2, 3, he recently passed 3,496,667. He always paints the numbers in white

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