The work of Julian Opie is known throughout the world. With public commissions from New York to Seoul, London to Zurich, and an uninterrupted flow of international museum exhibitions, Opie’s distinctive formal language is instantly recognisable and reflects his artistic preoccupation with the idea of representation and the means by which images are perceived and understood. “Everything you see is a trick of the light,” Opie writes. “Light bouncing into your eye, light casting shadows, creating depth, shapes, colours. Turn off the light and it’s all gone. We use vision as a means of survival and it’s essential to take it for granted in order to function, but awareness allows us to look at looking and by extension look at ourselves and be aware of our presence. Drawing, drawing out the way that process feels and works brings the awareness into the present and into the real world, the exterior world.” Always exploring different techniques both cutting edge and ancient, Opie plays with ways of seeing through reinterpreting the vocabulary of everyday life; his reductive style evokes both a visual and spatial experience of the world around us. Drawing influence from classical portraiture, Egyptian hieroglyphs and Japanese woodblock prints, as well as public signage, information boards and traffic signs, the artist connects the clean visual language of modern life, with the fundamentals of art history.
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. Exhibitions have been staged at Berardo Museum, Lisbon, Portugal (2020); Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, Japan (2019); Gerhardsen Gerner, Oslo, Norway (2019); The National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2018); National Portrait Gallery, London, UK (2017); Suwon Ipark Museum of Art, Korea (2017); Fosun Foundation, Shanghai, China (2017); Fundacion Bancaja, Valencia, Spain (2017); 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 'I Want! I Want! Art & Technology' at Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Birmingham, UK (2017); 'This Is Not The Reality. What Kind Of Reality?', 57th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (2017); the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK (2016); Barbican Art Gallery, London, UK (2014); Tate Britain, London, UK (2013); the Shanghai Biennale (2006); 11th Biennial of Sydney (1998); documenta 8, Kassel, Germany (1987); and XIIème Biennale de Paris (1985). Public projects include 'Walking in Taipei', Taipei, Taiwan and 'Walking in Hong Kong', Tower 535, Hong Kong (2016); Arendt & Medernach, Luxembourg (2016); Heathrow Terminal 1 (1998); and the prison Wormwood Scrubs, London (1994); as well as public work for hospitals, such as the Lindo Wing, St. Mary's Hospital, London (2012) and Barts & the London Hospital (2003). His design for the band Blur’s album 'Best of Blur' (2000) was awarded the Music Week CADS for Best Illustration in 2001.
Current and recent projects:
Newlands House Gallery, Petworth, UK, 6 November - 6 March 2022
Pitzhanger Manor, London, UK, 25 June - 24 Oct 2021
Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon, Portugal, 19 March - 18 October 2020
Pacific Place, Hong Kong, China