Opalka 2010

© Pierre Arnaud / service des public Musée d'art moderne, Saint-Etienne Métropole

In 1965, I defined a concept relating to the image of the irreversible time of a person's lifespan, duration visualized by the series of numbers from 1 to infinity which I have been painting since 1965.

That succession of my Details: 1,22, 333 and 4444 belong to the beginning from the first Detail, 55555 (five figure fives) is at the end of the second Detail.

But to reach 666666, it took me another seven years of work after 55555. When I reached 666666, I asked myself "how long will it takes me to reach 7777777 (seven times the figure 7, seven million seven hundred and seventy-seven thousand seven hundred and seventy-seven)?"

I fancied that, if all would go well, I might reach this landmark after some thirty years. I was mistaken: I have only got so far to 5406125 (around year 2000).

A lifetime's average, entirely devoted to this type of painting numbers while saying them out loudly, even in the absurd hypothesis of someone starting straightaway at birth, would be impossible for anyone ever to reach the mind-boggling number 88888888 (eight times the figure 8, eighty-eight million eight hundred and eighty-eight thousand eight hundred and eighty-eight), a number which could only be attained after several centuries of working this way. The Octagon - poetics of infinity.

Octogones : An Architectural Project

The shape of an Octagon symbolize the relevant space to present my work within optimal duration of one's existence in space&time:

7 identical dimensions canvas (of an average adult 1m77 tall with arms outstretched) : one canvas to be hung on each of the 7 walls of the octagon.

The 8th side is the door. Entirely from opaque neutral white glass, as neutral as possible. The floor needs to be of uniform dark with color very similar to the large center of the ceiling. All the metal structures must be as discreet as possible in order to give this eight surfaces the most minimal appearance.

The darkest Detail (the oldest canvas available) must be on the first left side as you enter in.

Following my work's process, the lightest Detail (the most recent one) must be on the last right side of the entrance.

Those two poles define the image of what I call "Meeting by separation".

Roman Opalka

copyright Roman Opalka 2014