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Julian Opie

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Julian Opie Biography

born London, England 1958

Julian Opie (born 1958) is a contemporary English artist. Julian Opie was born in London and raised in Oxford. He is a graduate of Goldsmiths College (1979-82) and achieved some early gallery success, which was an incentive for slightly younger artists in the same college, such as Damien Hirst to do likewise.

His highly stylised work, involves the reduction of photographs (or short films) into figurative reproductions (created using computer software). In his portraiture, the human face is characterised by black outlines with flat areas of colour, and minimalised detail, to the extent that an eye can become a just the black circle of the pupil, and sometimes a head is represented by a circle with a space where the neck would be. In this way, Julian Opie tries to present the complexities of the human form by reducing it to its mere basics.

As a successful artist who exhibits internationally, Opie uses computers in art for other works. His famous Imagine you are… series, demonstrated how activities such as driving, walking and climbing could be represented by simple reductions. In addition, Opie uses sculpture and light installations to present items of everyday life. I am simply using that which is available to describe that which is experienced.

Julian Opie's style was brought into the public eye when he was asked to design the cover for the British band, Blur's best of album. On the cover, the band members (clockwise from top left) Graham Coxon, Alex James, Dave Rowntree and Damon Albarn are transformed into Opie's style.

Julian Opie, as one of the leading figures in computerised art, also implements computer technology by cutting out the outlines and coloured shapes, sometimes on vinyl, as in large display banners at Tate Britain.

Opie is a trustee of the Tate Gallery and exhibits with Lisson Gallery and Alan Cristea Gallery in London. His studio and workshop is based in Shoreditch, London. Recently, Julian Opie has been met with controversy due to his more daring subject matter - pole dancers. A key part of his exhibition in the Cristea Art Gallery, pole dancers are typically reduced to cartoon-esque figures.

Select Timeline

Select Exhibitions

  • 2002 - Rebecca Camhi Gallery, Athens
  • 2002 - Mario Sequeira Gallery, Porto
  • 2003 - Saved, 100 Years of the National Art Collections Fund, Hayward Gallery, London
  • 2003 - Lenbachhaus Kunstbau, Munich
  • 2003 - Arcadia; the other life of video games Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Zealand
  • 2003 - Addiction, curated by Christopher Kul-Want, 15 Micamber Street, London
  • 2003 - Bienal de Valencia Valencia, Spain
  • 2003 - No Art-No City - City Utopias in Contemporary Art. Stadtische Galerie im Buntentor, Bremen, Germany
  • 2003 - Auto-nom, das Automobil in der Zeitgenossischen Kunst, NRW Forum Kultur und Wirtschaft, Dusseldorf, Germany
  • 2003 - Urban Codes - Coder/De' coder, espace de l'art concret, Chateau de Mouans, Mouans-Sartoux, France
  • 2003 - 'Trickfilm', Andre Buchmann Galerie, Cologne
  • 2003 - Robert Mc Lain Gallery, Houston, Texas
  • 2003 - MART - Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto
  • 2003 - Galerie Bob Van Orsouw, Zurich
  • 2003 - Neues Museum Nurnberg, Nuremberg
  • 2003 - K21 Dusseldorf, Germany
  • 2003 - Alan Cristea Gallery, London
  • 2004 - Animals, buildings, cars and people Public Art Fund, City hall Park, New York City, curated by Tom Eccles
  • 2004 - 'Sara, Bryan & Monique', Lisson Gallery, London
  • 2004 - Wetterling Gallery, Stockholm
  • 2004 - Kunsthandlung H. Krobath & B. Wimmer, Vienna
  • 2004 - Patrick de Brock Gallery, Knokke, Belgium
  • 2004 - Barbara Thumm Galerie, Berlin
  • 2004 - MCA Chicago
  • 2004 - Bearings: Landscapes from the IMMA Collection, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland
  • 2004 - The Tower Block, vertical architecture, Clifford Chance, Canary Wharf, London
  • 2004 - Portrat ohne Antlitz (Face without features) Kunsthalle Kiel, Germany.
  • 2004 - Funny Cuts; cartoons and comics in contemporary art Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart, Germany
  • 2004 - People Mimmo Scognamiglio, Naples, Italy
  • 2004 - Summer Exhibiton Royal Academy of Art, London
  • 2005 - Gallery Mario Sequeira, Braga, Portugal
  • 2005 - La Chocolateria, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
  • 2005 - Scai the Bathhouse, Tokyo
  • 2005 - ICA, Boston
  • 2005 - Gallery MGM Oslo, Norway
  • 2005 - Gallery Valentina Bonomo, Rome, Italy
  • 2006 - Shanghai Biennale, China
  • 2006 - Auto Nom Kasel, Germany
  • 2006 - Alan Cristea Gallery, London

Select Artwork

  • Hannah, schoolgirl, 2006
  • Hannah, Lottie, and Esther blinking, 2006
  • Bijou Lounging I, 2007
  • Winter Landscape, 2003
  • Ruth Smoking 4
  • Ruth Smoking 2, 2006
  • Sheep Cow Deer Dog Chicken Cat Goat, 2006

Quotes

  • "I am simply using that which is available to describe that which is experienced."
  • "The process of reading things as simulations but knowing at the same time that they are real is quite central to my work."

Publications

Quick Facts

  • Julian Opie is a leading contemporary English artist, who uses computerised imagery. He is a trustee of the Tate Gallery.
  • His highly stylised work, involves the reduction of photographs (or short films) into figurative reproductions (created using computer software).
  • Opie uses computers in art for other works. His famous Imagine you are… series, demonstrated how activities such as driving, walking and climbing could be represented by simple reductions. In addition, Opie uses sculpture and light installations to present items of everyday life.
  • implements computer technology by cutting out the outlines and coloured shapes, sometimes on vinyl, as in large display banners at Tate Britain.

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