Pi -secrets within

14 years ago, I completed this painting, ’Pi, secrets within’ The 21.316 first decimals in pi visualized on canvas. At the time I had studied mathematics at SU But taken a break. The studies was always in conflict with my free spirit and the urge to create and think and write freely. Pi is a mathematical constant, both irrational, (cannot be written as a fraction by two Integers) and transcendent (Non algebraic). The simplast definition of Pi is the geometrical, the ratio between a circles cirkumference and its diameter. I always seen Pi as a bridge, between roundness and linearity. These two are in there own nature oposites. To conect these two demands something extraordinary beyond our futile human mind, and That i apparently Pi. It pops up every where in mathematics, even where its not obviously expected. The same in science like physics. 

Back then in 2007, when my brains capacity regarding math was maxed out, and the urge to create was to big to hold back. I thought to myself, what would happen if pi was visualized by a a ten step value scale on a canvas? Where – and this is important Because vizualisation has been done digitally But not like this – 0 is represented by black, and 9 by white and the rest corresponding to this ten step value scale in between. I became obsessed with the idea. It took probably around 200 hours to complete this work, during a 6 month period, (week ends) One row on the canvas has 146 digits, and the average time to paint one row was about 45 – 55 min. The grid on the linnen canvas is a square with 146 lines. To write in graphite all the 21.316 digits, that had to be done first obviously took a great deal of the total time as well. But even as this number might seem big, 21.316 decimals would not even correspond to a single drop of water in thousand of oceans. Pi is, mathematically proven to be infinite. All combinations of numbers regardless of there length exist in Pi its just a matter of searching and how much time you have to find it. Super computers with smart and fast algoritm for calculating Pi has reach just Over the tens of billions of decimals in Pi so far. 

During and before the making of Pi – secrets within – which was basically a paint by number procedure once all the decimals was written on the canvas grid – I knew, intelectually That No face of Jesus or Buddha was going to apear. Because first of all, the string of digits was hacked into sections of 146 and stacked. 2. That the digits follows a normal distribution, That is, there are in average the same amount of each number in any large enough section choosen in pi and with seemingly No pattern. But still I couldnt help to wonder, what if an image or any visually perceptible interpretation would apear? Like a mathematical version of the philosophical theodesis problem it just highligts a logical paradox between the ideal and the observed reality. And still, to me it vibrates and reminds me with a silent whispering of how beautiful and mysterious existence is and that it holds secrets. 

I sent it to various open art exhibitions, including Liljevalchs spring exhibition. I even thought maybe to donate it to the SU mathematical department. But there where No respond. And how naive I was to think That a self thought No body with No formal art education would be warmly embrassed. 

I made a video and put it on youtube. I was happy to find justcrecently when I looked, That after all these years the video was still there. 

(Link below)

Its like when an enthusiastic person is speaking about his favourite subject to a person That has not the slightest of interest. How can you blame this person? Its rather the enthusiatic persons problem, obsessing Over these things No one else bother to think about.

So regardless of the implications of this piece, because this is a philosophical and artistic investigstion not a mathematical investigstion, if That is not obvious At this point. 

The video ’Pi – secrets within’ created in conjunction to the actual painting is a meta work emphesizing this angle of aproach. 

Well I can atleast say, not true for any Other work Ive done, although I always strive for this, That it is with a mathematical certainty a perfectly balanced abstract Painting when it comes to the value scale (contrast) 

I’ll end with a mind blowing fact of pi and what have always fascinated me beyond words and maybe also was one of the reason of this obsession with Pi. This fact, that concerns the magnitude of Pi, its infinite nature when we see it as this ”bridge” between roundness and linearity and its duality due to it is at the same time a fixed mathematical number or constant. This make me think about Einsteins contemplation, that he asked himself prior to developing the special and general theory of relativity, in a very playful and creative way, typical his brilliant yet childlike way of thinking. He asked himself: Did God have a choice when creating the universe or could it be in only one way? 

To calculate a circle That is big enough to hold the entire known visible universe, the sufficient number of digits needed in pi is:


Pi – secrets within
oil on canvas, 146 x 146 cm

Year finished 2008

The 21.316 first digits in pi visualized by a ten step value scale, black representing 0 and white is 9.

Pi – secrets within


130 x 130 cm
acrylic and charcoal on canvas