Julian Opie
Walk 2009

Julian Opie is a visual artist, and one of the New British Sculpture movement. He is one of the most significant artists of his generation whose artistic preoccupation has investigated the idea of representation and the means by which images are perceived and understood. Throughout his practice, Opie has developed his own reductive formal language which seeks to reflect, not reality itself, but rather the way in which reality is represented: his distinctive language of discipline and formal consistency which is employed in his current portrait and landscape work.

He says, he sets out to strip things down, the purpose being to reflect and play on not just other art, but on the artifice that he thinks frames contemporary experience: how what is seemingly natural in human behavior is made up of learned performance codes, how artistic conventions constrain artistic practice.

In his portraiture, the human face is sometimes characterized by black outlines with flat areas of color, and minimalized details, to the extent that an eye can become just the black circle of the pupil, and sometimes a head is represented by a circle with a space where the neck would be, Opie tries to portray someone's personality in as little detail as possible.

Opie uses computers in art for other works. His work demonstrates 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.

Opie themes are different, but all connected with the concept of movement: engagement with art history, use of new technology, obsession with the human body.