The Man Who Tried to Count to Infinity

In a poetic, half-a-lifetime effort, Polish conceptual artist Roman Opalka tried to count to infinity, using his paintbrush. From 1965 until his death in 2011, he patiently and diligently painted consecutive numbers.

The idea came in a coffeeshop, and continued from then on, where he would spend nearly every single day writing 400 numbers in small type, neatly in compact rows.


Over the years, the numbers slowly grew, and when he finally had painted his last number, he had gotten to 5,607,249. He started painting white on black canvas, and slowly began to introduce lighter canvasses, so that his final work was white on light grey.

Though somewhat of a strange pursuit, we applaud the vision to tackle an existential feat like this, and are thoroughly impressed by Opalka’s undying dedication. See some of his work below, and the level of persistence it took. Via Hyperallergic: