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"Roman Opalka painted time, and he painted it moving forward—1, 2, 3, etc… He could have painted time counting backward, and his project would have still moved in the direction of infinity. But even though Roman Opalka painted toward infinity, he wasn’t trying to paint infinity itself. Opalka painted time moving forward for one reason: death. ‘Time as we live it and as we create it embodies our progressive disappearance;’ Opalka wrote, ‘we are at the same time alive and in the face of death—that is the mystery of all living beings.’ Meaning, the very fact of our living is to embody our own disappearance. At first, the Details were painted on a dark background, the numbers in white. But in 1972, Opalka began lightening the background of each canvas by one percent. In 2008, the artist started painting white on white, calling the color blanc mérité (well-earned white). As the numbers he painted grew in size, as the canvases grew lighter, Opalka’s face—documented before a Detail at the end of each work section—grew lighter, too. His face lost structure, his hair grew whiter. In a symbolic way, to look at the Details is to watch Opalka die. Opalka’s concern with the infinite future, with death, is the great concern of us all. Which is why the infinity in front of one’s life looms much larger than the infinity behind, for Opalka and for all of us. We are mostly beings toward death, disappearing with breath in the face of a progression of time that is utterly indifferent to us.”

    -Stefany Anne Golberg, from “Running the Numbers: For Roman Opalka, counting was living.” (via)

September 24th
Tags: Roman Opalka, Stefany Anne Golberg, Opalka, time, forward, aging, growing old, death, disappearance, infinity, painting, numbers, endless, Detail, presence, art,
  1. hypocrite-lecteur posted this