Drawings by Adolf Wolfli (1864-1930), Swiss Art Brut artist
"By this [Art Brut] we mean pieces of work executed by people untouched by artistic culture, in which therefore mimicry, contrary to what happens in intellectuals, plays little or no part, so that their authors draw everything (subjects, choice of materials employed, means of transposition, rhythms, ways of writing, etc.) from their own depths and not from clichés of classical art or art that is fashionable. Here we are witnessing an artistic operation that is completely pure, raw, reinvented in all its phases by its author, based solely on his own impulses. Art, therefore, in which is manifested the sole function of invention, and not those, constantly seen in cultural art, of the chameleon and the monkey. Those works created from solitude and from pure and authentic creative impulses – where the worries of competition, acclaim and social promotion do not interfere – are, because of these very facts, more precious than the productions of professionals. After a certain familiarity with these flourishings of an exalted feverishness, lived so fully and so intensely by their authors, we cannot avoid the feeling that in relation to these works, cultural art in its entirety appears to be the game of a futile society, a fallacious parade.”
'All my work is a single thing, the description from number one to infinity. A single thing, a single life'
Roman Opałka (1931 – 2011) was a Polish conceptual painter. Throughout his career he tried various methods to try capturing the time on canvas, finally in 1965, he stuck with the simplest idea - he began painting numbers from one to infinity.
In Opałka’s first details he painted white numbers onto black, but 1968 he changed to a grey background 'because it's not a symbolic colour, nor an emotional one', and in 1972 he decided he would gradually lighten this grey background by adding 1 per cent more white to the ground with each passing detail. He expected to be painting virtually in white on white by the time he reached 7777777. Also in 1968, Opałka introduced a tape recorder in his work, speaking each number into the microphone as he painted it.
The final number he painted, before his death was 5607249.
'the problem is that we are, and are about not to be'