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Roman OPALKA

 

 

 

Roman Opalka was a French-born Polish conceptual artist. His family returned to Poland in 1946 after the World War Ⅱ. Opałka studied lithography at a graphics school before enrolling in the School of Art and Design in Lodz. He later earned a degree from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw.

Opalka's work is described to be containing the concept of time and evidence of existence. In 1965, in his studio in Warsaw, Opałka began 1965/1-∞ series by painting numbers from one to infinity. Starting in the top left-hand corner of the canvas and finishing in the bottom right-hand corner, the tiny numbers were painted in horizontal rows. He painted white numbers onto a black background and gradually lightened the black background by adding 1 per cent more of white color to the background with each passing work. Finally, the background and numbers became difficult to distinguish from each other and looked as a whole. This shows the artist’s saying, 'All my work is a single thing, the description from number one to infinity. A single thing, a single life', 'the problem is that we are, and are about not to be'.

Opałka participated in many of the art world’s most important international exhibitions, including Documenta in Kassel, Germany (1977); the Sao Paolo Biennial (1987); and Venice Biennial (1995,2003,2011,2013). Opałka's works can be found in the permanent collections of the Centre Pompidou in Paris and New York’s Museum of Modern Art among others. Opałka won the celebrated Grand Prize of the 7th International Biennial of Arts and Graphics of Cracow (1969), the C. K. Norwid Art Critics Award (1970), Franceʼs National Painting Prize (1991) and Germanyʼs Kaiser Prize (1993). He was named Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and of Letters) in France.