The British artist Julian Opie established himself in the 1980s as part of the movement ‘New British Sculpture’. This was a group of artists who, at the time, experimented with the medium of sculpture as a form of expression. Their themes included pop, humour, assemblage and the criticism of a consumer society. Other well-known figures who emerged from this group included Antony Gormley and Anish Kapoor.
Since the 1980s Opie has refined his artistic language. Inspired by Pop art, minimalism, classical portraiture and Japanese woodcuts Opie has primarily worked with portraits. In his minimalistic style he brilliantly succeeds in capturing the individual’s character traits. His popular breakthrough using this technique came in 2000 when he created the cover for the album Blur: The Best Of by Britpop band Blur.
In several projects shown at, amongst others, Lisson Gallery in London and Wetterling Gallery in Stockholm, the artist has worked consistently with a group of about thirty friends that he has then portrayed in sculptures, paintings, films and wallpapers. Six of his portraits are in the National Portrait Gallery in London; four depict the members of Blur and one, entitled James, Inventor, executed as a commission by the National Portrait Gallery in 2010, is a portrait of the inventor and engineer Sir James Dyson.
Opie’s work can also be found in public art collections such as Tate Modern and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) in New York as well as the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.
Contemporary Art & Design
Viewing: 5 – 9 November, Berzelii Park 1, Stockholm
Open: Mon–Fri 11 AM – 6 PM, Sat–Sun kl 11 AM –5 PM
Auction: 10 November, starts at 11 am, Arsenalsgatan 2, Stockholm
Catalogue online from 28 October