0 Through 9

Jasper Johns' 0 Through 9 series encapsulates the artist's fascination with numbers, presenting a complex layering of all ten digits from zero to nine. Created in the early 1960s, this iconic series exemplifies Johns’ innovative use of familiar symbols to explore themes of perception and identity, showcasing his unique approach to abstract expressionism.

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Meaning & Analysis

Jasper Johns0 Through 9 series is a pivotal exploration of numerical motifs, a subject that Johns revisited throughout his career. This series features the digits 0 through to 9 superimposed upon each other in a single canvas, creating a dense, textural composition that challenges the viewer's ability to distinguish individual figures. By layering these numerals, Johns not only delves into the visual and conceptual complexities of representation but also interrogates the boundaries between abstraction and legibility.

Created during a period when Johns was deeply engaged with themes of semiotics and the cognitive processes involved in visual interpretation, 0 Through 9 pushes the envelope of how familiar objects can be transformed into rich, multi-layered artworks. Each print in the series serves as a testament to Johns' mastery over printmaking techniques, utilising lithography to achieve sharp contrasts and subtle overlays.

Johns' technique in 0 Through 9, characterised by a rigorous, almost sculptural manipulation of figure and ground, reflects his broader artistic inquiry into the materiality of images and the ways in which art communicates through conventional symbols. This series not only exemplifies Johns' experimental approach to the medium but also encapsulates his ongoing interest in the intersections of art, language, and cognition.

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