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Julian Opie - City?

For City Hall Park, New York City, 2004. Courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery.

Julian Opie - Sheep in Landscape

Animation, courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery


Painted, laser cut steel, 2005

Julian Opie’s work is instantly recognisable and has been disseminated around the world. One of the most significant artists of his generation, his distinctive formal language is the result of digital alteration, presenting images as black outlines and simplified areas of colour; it speaks of Minimal and Pop art, of billboard signs and Japanese woodblock prints. Opie uses a variety of media and technologies, from animation and painted aluminium to sculptures of everyday features.

Amongst other subjects, landscapes have particularly benefited from his ‘programme of purification’. They are emptied out of unmemorable detail, stylised and systematised, to become an essence of themselves.

Here, in the walled garden of Weston, a scaled down and summarised version of a block of high-rise buildings stands as an anti-landscape, an alternative version of our world, apparently in conflict with the pastoral idyll. Yet city views, with their jagged skylines, smooth and shiny materiality have become just as desirable and valuable as classical magnificent vistas, at least to estate agents. A new idyllic landscape?

Julian Opie

Julian Opie was born in London in 1958 and lives and works in London. He graduated from Goldsmith’s School of Art, London in 1982.

Solo exhibitions include Kunsthalle Helsinki, Finland (2015); Museum of Contemporary Art Krakow (MoCAK), Poland (2014); National Portrait Gallery, London, UK (2011); IVAM, Valencia, Spain (2010); MAK, Vienna, Austria (2008); CAC Malaga, Spain (2006); Neues Museum, Nuremberg, Germany (2003); Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK (2001); Kunstverein Hannover, Germany (1994) and Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, UK (1985).

Major group exhibitions include the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK (2016); Barbican Art Gallery, London, UK (2014); Tate Britain, London, UK (2013); Shanghai Biennale (2006); 11th Biennial of Sydney (1998); documenta 8, Kassel, Germany (1987) and XIIème Biennale de Paris (1985).

His public projects include works for hospitals, such as Barts & the London Hospital (2003) and the Lindo Wing, St Mary’s Hospital, London (2012); Heathrow Terminal 1 (1998); the prison Wormwood Scrubs, London (1994) and his design for the band Blur’s album (2000), for which he was awarded the Music Week CADS for Best Illustration in 2001. Opie’s work is held in many major museum collections including the Arts Council, England; British Museum, London, UK; Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh, PA, USA; IVAM Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, USA; MoMAT Tokyo, Japan; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia; National Portrait Gallery, London, UK; Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich, Germany; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Tate Collection, London, UK and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK. Opie is represented by Lisson Gallery.