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ROMAN OPALKA « OPALKA 1965/1-∞, THE PHOTOGRAPHIC WORK »

From 26 June 2004 to 02 January 2005

Eighteen years after the first French monograph which the CCC devoted to his entire programme, this exhibition is the first retrospective shining a light on a large part of Roman Opalka’s photographic work which is conceptually indivisible from the programme to which he decided to commit his working life 40 years ago.

The process of photographically producing a record of time as shown on his own face first appeared in Roman Opalka’s programme in 1972. As soon as he lays down his brush, the artist photographs himself in front of the canvas he is painting. Invariably he uses the same framing, the same light, the same camera equipment, he always wears an identical white shirt and no matter what happens he has the same facial expression. From one photograph to another, whether they are taken several days or several years apart, this uninterrupted consistancy defines a visual form of time across the features of the artist’s face.

«A single category of ‘details’ is of a perfectly identical duration- the moment when the lens opens and closes, corresponding to the number and to the moment I stopped painting, in order to record it with a photograph of my face which also becomes a detail of the precise moment. This is done to commit to memory a part of my physical change and the reflection on my psyche of what I call my self-portrait; this is made up of thousands of photographs representing thousands of working days, and which constitute sections of observations fixed in time by a photo made in the studio at the end of each day….» (Roman Opalka)

This exhibition takes place within ‘Nova Polska’, a Polish season in France (May-December 2004).