'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'