The fundamental basis of my work, to which I have dedicated my life, manifests itself in a process of recording a progression that both documents time and also defines it. It began on a single date in 1965, the one on which I undertook my first “Detail”.
Each “Detail” is a part of a greater idea conceived on that date. My work records the progression to infinity, through the first and the last number painted on the canvas.
I inscribe the progression of numbers beginning with one, proceeding to infinity, on canvases of the same size, 77.17 × 53.15 in (196 × 135 cm), in white by hand with a paintbrush. Since 1972 I have been making each canvas’ background about 1% whiter each time. Thus the moment will arrive when I will paint white on white. Since 2008, I have painted in white on a white background, which I call “blanc mérité” (white well earned).
After each work session in my studio, I take a photograph of my face in front of the “Detail” that I have been working on. Each “Detail” is accompanied by a tape recording of my voice saying the numbers out loud as I write them.
‘Je voulais manifester le temps,
son changement dans la durée,
celui qui montre la nature,
mais d’une manière propre à l’homme,
sujet conscient de sa présence
définie par la mort :
émotion de la vie dans la durée irréversible’