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Spectra Art Space

2016 / 01 / 29


26 September 2015 – 7 February 2016
2015 is marked by the 50th anniversary of creating the first Counted Painting by Roman Opałka, inaugurating his fundamental work known as Opałka 1965/1-∞. The Starak Family Foundation decided to honour this fact by exhibiting integral Details of the cycle – canvasses, photographic documentation and voice record – in the form of Octagon, indicated and described by the artist himself as the perfect form of perceiving his programme.

Radicalness of Roman Opałka’s decision and his consistency made the Opałka 1965/1-∞ programme one of the most prominent events in the history of art at the turn of the 21st century. Although regarded as representative of conceptual art, he slightly anticipated and at the same time clearly went beyond it. In the white and mystical Octagon, which – alongside monochromatic and monumental counted paintings – is filled with the artist’s lowered impassive voice, counting out successive values, we are faced with inevitability of transience and experience infinity at the same time. As Bożena Kowalska wrote in the exhibition catalogue: All existential and eschatological deliberations, beginning with Plato and Aristotle and ending with Schopenhauer, Heidegger, Hegel and Sartre, or even Hinayana Buddhism, intertwined with Opałka’s counting phrases, accompanying his painstaking work. This great revealing work earned general admiration and recognition worldwide. And it still transfixes viewers with its unintended beauty, meditative beauty. 

The jubilee Octagon is the first one exhibited after the artist’s death. It begins with the first Detail – written in white on the black, and ends with one of the last ones – written in white on the white. 

The Octagon will be composed of Roman Opałka’s works from the collections belonging to the Museum of Art in Łódź, Atlas Sztuki gallery in Łódź, Sławomir Boss, Teresa and Andrzej Starmach, as well as Anna and Jerzy Starak.

ROMAN OPAŁKA – Born on 27 August 1931 in Abeville (France), died on 6 August 2011 in Rome. A painter, graphic designer, draftsman. One of the most famous Polish artists in the world, the author of the Opałka 1965/ 1 - ∞ programme. He studied at PWSSP in Łódź (presently: Strzemiński Academy of Fine Arts Łódź) (1949-1950), and then (from 1956) at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. During his studies, he created in the spirit of Realism. Later, in the 1950s and 1960s, he experimented with texture. At the same time, he got closer and closer to abstraction. In the period 1968-1970, he created a cycle of graphics titled Description of the World [Opisanie świata], which was awarded at international exhibitions on numerous occasions. He lived in France from 1977. He was decorated with Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (2011), the Gold Medal for Merit to Culture – a Gloria Artis, and Commander’s Cross of the Order of Arts and Letters in France. His works were presented during i.a. Biennale in Sao Paulo (1969, 1977, 1987), Documenta in Kassel (1977), Biennale in Venice (1995, 2003, 2011, 2013). 
Roman Opałka’s works can be found in collections of museums and galleries all over the world, i.a.:  National Museum in Warsaw, Poznań, Kraków, Szczecin, Museum of Art in Łódź, Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw, Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Museum of Modern Art in New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York,  Kunsthalle in Hamburg, Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo, Kunstmuseum Dusseldorf, Göteborgs Konstmuseum, Musee du palais Albertina in Vienna, Nationalgalerie in Berlin.

The exhibition Roman Opałka | Spectra Art Space MASTERS can be viewed in the Spectra building at ul. Bobrowiecka 6 in Warsaw, from 26 September 2015 to 7 February 2016, on each Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Free entrance.

Spectra Art Space |The Starak Family Foundation
Bobrowiecka 6 | Warsaw 

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