Roman Opalka

Since the early 70's, each photo has been taken the same way. The man dressed in a white shirt photographs himself, posing in an attitude which is as neutral as possible.

 

Since 1965, Roman Opalka has been producing a unique work made up of scores of canvasses.

On each of them, the artist meticulously writes in white the next number in a successive series. Having started with the number 1 in 1965, the man has reached today something around six million.

Each canvas makes up a “detail” in the assembly covering his entire life and which will end definitively with his death. To mark the daily updating, Roman Opalka has established a protocol of procedures. One consists in reciting figures in Polish as they are transferred onto the canvas. Another consists in closing each work session with a photographic self-portrait. The photograph then becomes a document. The image recorded, of the artist's face, bears witness to the furtive passing of time.

It is to this essential aspect of Opalka's work that Bernard Chauveau Éditeur and Néant, éditeur, have decided to devote a publication.

Since the early 70's, each photo has been taken the same way. The man dressed in a white shirt photographs himself, posing in an attitude which is as neutral as possible. He tries to avoid any sentimentalism, any attempt at idealisation or monumentalisation. His sole aim is that the photograph stops time, freezes a split-second, and lets a face emerge. Over the course of years, this succession of images witnesses the appearance and progression of aging, of the slow advance towards death. Among the thousands of photographs produced by Roman Opalka, only a few score have achieved the absolute neutrality he demands, and deserve to exist as works. Each of these selected images has been printed as a single copy, and signed. For the present edition, Roman Opalka has chosen with particular care 50 selfportraits spread over the period 1972 to the present. Each of them is then reproduced on a simple cahier. On the page facing each is a caption: the number painted on the canvas at the moment of that photograph. This selection of 50 cahiers constitutes an exceptional edition.
Limited and signed edition of 298 copies. Special edition of 5 copies with an original signed photography.

Reference 9782915837377
Size 24 x 30 cm
ISBN 9782915837377
Edition 298 copies
Justification Signed and Numbered
Technique Presentation in a box especially made for the book’s edition
Publication date 2008

Opalka (Roman)


Since 1965, Roman Opalka has been producing a unique work made up of scores of canvasses. On each of them, the artist meticulously writes in white the next number in a successive series. Having started with the number 1 in 1965, the man has reached today something around six million. Each canvas makes up a “detail” in the assembly covering his entire life and which will end definitively with his death. To mark the daily updating, Roman Opalka has established a protocol of procedures. One consists in reciting figures in Polish as they are transferred onto the canvas. Another consists in closing each work session with a photographic self-portrait. The photograph then becomes a document. The image recorded, of the artist's face, bears witness to the furtive passing of time.

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