|Julian Opie I Residency from October 1995 to February 1996
Julian Opie was born in 1958 in London, where he lives and works.
Julian Opie creates environments from murals, objects, or computer imagery. He adapts an arsenal of familiar things – architecture, human beings, animals, landscapes – that he re-works with the aid of computer software to produce a simplified representation.
At the Atelier Calder, Opie developed a project entitled “Driving in the Country”, consisting of an ensemble of sculptures accompanied by a catalogue.
Each work begins with a real, daily situation: a car on the road, a group of buildings in the center of town. But the objects represented by Opie – even if they are on the same scale as the real objects themselves – lose all their specific defining characteristics: in Opie’s universe, all the cars become interchangeable. The same goes for the “modernist architecture” buildings, typical of the 1960’s: all these elements are placed in their own environment composed of painted walls.
“I see the sculptures as functioning a bit like objects in an IKEA catalogue. They can exist on their own but are also capable of being combined in many different ways with other objects from the catalogue, to create a larger whole…Each object stands in relation to the others, but in a flexible way. What I show is one option among many – it is not definitive. I want the viewer to imagine that they could re-order the elements or that they would be re-ordered in another venue.”
This categorical simplification leads to a distinction that transforms the empirical information into a simplified language by which Opie asks us questions about the conditions of reception and comprehension of images.