One of the leading figures in contemporary art, for over three decades Julian Opie (b. 1958) has pushed the boundaries of portraiture, painting, and sculpture, seeking to break down what he believes to be illogical barriers between the disciplines. He has developed an instantly recognisable and unique formal language through digital manipulation, reducing images to simplified forms of line and colour.
Julian Opie graduated from Goldsmith’s School of Art, London in 1982 where he studied under the British artist Michael Craig-Martin. He has gone on to show extensively around the world, with solo exhibitions including National Portrait Gallery, London (2011), IVAM, Valencia, Spain (2010), MAK, Vienna (2008), CAC Malaga, Spain (2006), Neues Museum, Nuremburg, Germany (2003), Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK (2001), Kunstverein Hannover, Germany (1994) and Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (1985).
According to Julian Opie, there are many ways of knowing a place, of looking and of sensing one’s own presence. He has often depicted movement through space using stop frame animation, where a series of slightly changing images mimics real movement and fools the eye. Thinking of the way Google Street View works and some early computer games where movement through space is economically evoked by surging from one static position to the next.
Opie took a walk around his house in France, finishing at the same spot he started from and took a photograph every forty paces. When seen in series, a visitor can feel something of the way it feels to move through space, the way one occasionally takes stock of the view and uses landmarks to gauge one’s progress.