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Numbers

opera tag

For many contemporary artists, numbers are often a source of research, and often become a true artistic obsession. Instead of expressing themselves with forms, lines and colours, many artists try to manoeuvre their way through infinite series of numbers. Mario Merz, for example, works with numbers made from neon and laid out at regular intervals: it’s the Fibonacci series, in which each number is the sum of the previous two, which the artist uses to artistically measure the world and represent its growth processes. The Japanese artist On Kaware also gives centripetal importance to numbers in his works called ‘Today’. Onto a monochrome ground, he paints the dates on which the paintings were produced. If then, On Kawara doesn’t manage to finish his work before midnight, he destroys it. The Polish artist Roman Opalka, from 1965 to 2011, gave his works successive numbers every day: this was a way of writing without describing, and had nothing to do with mathematics, just simple artistic expression.