0-9

Jasper Johns' 0-9 series presents a profound exploration of numerical symbols, transforming them from mere markers of quantity into subjects of artistic investigation. Created in 1963 with his characteristic blend of conceptual depth and visual innovation, this series dissects the essence of numbers through variations in style, texture, and context, inviting viewers to reconsider their perceptual and cultural significance.

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Meaning & Analysis

Jasper Johns, a pivotal figure in American art, has long been fascinated with the interrogation of common symbols and their representational capacities. The 0-9 series is a compelling testament to this ongoing inquiry, where Johns delves into the realm of numerals to explore their aesthetic and symbolic potentials. Each piece within the series, denoting the numerals from 0 through 9, is rendered with a distinctive approach that challenges conventional perceptions of these universal symbols.

Through the 0-9 series, Johns employs a variety of techniques and mediums to present each number, thereby exploring the multifaceted nature of visual representation. This methodological diversity not only highlights Johns’ mastery over his craft but also mirrors the complex ways in which numbers function within society, beyond their utilitarian role in quantification to signify deeper meanings, from personal identifiers to markers of historical significance.

Johns' work with numerals is deeply rooted in his broader artistic philosophy, which often centres around themes of perception, identity, and the fluid boundaries between object and symbol. By transforming numerals into the main subject of artistic expression, Johns elevates them from their everyday utility, prompting a re-evaluation of their role as carriers of meaning. This exploration is indicative of Johns’ ability to transcend the apparent simplicity of his subjects, revealing the layers of complexity that lie beneath.

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